Iraq: ‘ghost’ retirees received $1 bn in salaries

A member of Iraq’s Parliamentary Integrity Committee said about 23,000 ‘retired fictitious’ soldiers received salaries mounting to $1 billion

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In Iraq, about 23,000 “retired fictitious” soldiers and officers received salaries mounting to $1 billion over the past five years, a member of the country’s Parliamentary Integrity Committee said Wednesday in a television interview.

“I am dealing with a dangerous file regarding these retired ‘space men.’ There are 23,000 who were unlawfully receiving salaries for the past four or five years,” Mishaan al-Jubouri of the committee, tasked with tackling corruption, told al-Sumaria News, adding “their salaries reached $1 billion.”


Iraqis dub these ghost soldiers and officers “fadhaiyoon,” which if literally translated means “space men.”

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abad made international headlines on Sunday when he revealed that 50,000 fictitious soldiers were on Baghdad’s payroll.

“I find myself compelled to see the finance minister, and this meeting will turn into a grilling session,” Jubouri said.

However, Jubouri did not explain if his figure was part of the number revealed by Abadi.

The lawmaker also described Abadi’s estimate as “humble,” despite the premier dubbing the 50,000 ghost soldiers as merely the first batch in his vow to combat corruption and graft.

On Monday, Abadi retired 24 senior interior ministry officers as a part of “efforts to reform and rebuild Iraq’s security institutions.”

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