Iraq had the largest annual budget from 2013 to 2016 after Saudi Arabia. Yet, it has rated 16 out of 21 Arab countries in corruption. Photo: Rudaw
By Nwenar Fatih
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Iraq’s internal incomes in the oil sector alone since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime from 2003 to 2016 had reached nearly $722 billion, of which 57 percent of this portion is exported outside of the country with another $112 billion missing.
“We have six precise reports in hand on transferring cash outside of the country, indicating that 57 percent of the cash made in Iraq is sent outside,” Ahmed Haji Rashid, head of the finance committee in the Iraqi parliament, told Rudaw.
“What the government is using now is $115 billion and the private sector retains $58 billion. But $112 billion is still missing,” he noted.
Commenting on committees formed to follow up on the fate of the cash flow out of the country, he explained, “work has been done but courts in this country are not assistive."
Iraq had the largest annual budget from 2013 to 2016 after Saudi Arabia. Yet, it has rated 16 out of 21 Arab countries in corruption.
Adil Nuri, a Kurdish MP and spokesperson of the Integrity committee in the Iraqi parliament believes the source of corruption is that there is not a "serious will" to battle corruption by Baghdad.
“Corruption has support in Iraq with strong men backing it,” Nuri said. “There is not a serious will to end it by the prime minister, therefore our efforts to face corruption will have no results.”
“Arrest warrants are issued for the corrupt ministers but they end up leaving the country,” Nuri complained.
The Kurdish MP explained that through their what he described as continued efforts to investigate the missing cash in Iraq, they were able to locate $20 billion.
“But the corrupt are wielding power so that they took their cases from us in the parliament.”
According to Nuri, together with other domestic incomes including customs, taxes and tariffs “the total of Iraq’s incomes from 2003 to now would reach more than $1 trillion dollars. But where is it?"
Nuri went on to add, “through banks and in the name of business, they [officials] end up laundering the money."
"We just have the authority of observation," he said of their inability to take any measures against the officials.
According to Transparency International, of 176 countries, Iraq is ranked 166 as the most corrupt countries in the World.
Youth under the age of 19 make up 50 percent of the population in Iraq giving it a major manpower. But, according to UN data, the poverty line has reached 13.3 percent and daily income of the population is no more than two dollars. Additionally, 18 percent of the youth between 15 and 24 are unemployed.