“The cabinet of ministers does not have the authority to remove me,” said Juburi, who won a second term as governor in June. “According to Article 20 of the provincial law, only the Provincial Council has such powers.” Photo: akhbaar.org
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The governor of Iraq’s majority-Sunni Saladin province, Ahmad al-Juburi, has been suspended on allegations of corruption, a senior politician disclosed.
Jamal Gailani, a leading member of the Sunni-majority Iraqiya bloc, told Iraq’s state TV on Wednesday that the Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had ordered the governor suspended for at least two months.
“The prime minister has decided to suspend the governor for two months, with the possibility of extending the suspension,” Gailani said. “The decision would include other members of the governor’s office who are allegedly involved in the corruption case,” he explained.
Gailani added that the governor’s office had allegedly mishandled the allocated budget for public services in Saladin.
“A number of city officials have been negligent about spending money that was allocated by the government for public services in the province,” he said. “This negligence has slowed progress in the province and public funds have been wasted.”
But Juburi told Al-Sumaria News that the prime minister does not have the power to remove him.
“The cabinet of ministers does not have the authority to remove me,” said Juburi, who won a second term as governor in June. “According to Article 20 of the provincial law, only the Provincial Council has such powers.”
Politicians in Saladin and other Sunni provinces accuse the Iraqi prime minister of discrimination against their provinces and an “unfair” police crackdown on their cities.
Meanwhile, the governor’s public relations officer, Jamal Mukhtar, told Rudaw that news of the suspension had come as a surprise and through the media.
“We became aware of the decision through the media,” said Mukhtar. “If it is true, then it has to be implemented, because it comes from higher up and the governor has to abide by it.”
Regarding the allegations of corruption against the governor, Mukhtar said: “Corruption isn't only unique to Saladin. It exists throughout Iraq. For every corruption allegation you need evidence in order to be able to bring the accused to court.”