One of Iraq’s parliamentary members thought it is too much that a person who has many corruption cases against him would seek to become a member of the parliament’s Commission of Integrity. The outraged MP said there was one specific person who is accused of committing fraud and embezzlement to the tune of 84 billion dinars (over $70 million).
It is not strange that the MP who has corruption cases against him seeks to become a member of the Integrity Commission, as he would like to bury his corruption files. There is however a more important question that the outraged MP should have asked and it is how did the MP whom he is referring to and who has all these major corruption cases against him even manage to become a member in the legislative authority?!
The criticized MP was not named. However, we know that he is not the only one of the members in the current parliament who has been accused of such cases. Some of the tainted MPs have in fact already been convicted and sentenced to prison terms and fines but they managed to evade justice thanks to the 2016 amnesty law.
Some of the tainted Iraqi MPs have in fact already been convicted of corruption and sentenced to prison terms and fines but they managed to evade justice thanks to the 2016 amnesty law.Adnan Hussein
This piece of legislation rescinded convictions against hundreds of people convicted of terrorism charges (most of whom are Sunni), in lieu of the dropping of corruption cases against hundreds of people convicted of corruption (most of whom being Shiite).
What is worse is that some of the terrorists who were granted amnesty found their way again to their terror groups and no action was taken to prevent this. Meanwhile, those who were convicted in corruption cases, returned to their previously held high positions as governors, general managers, etc.
Others continued to contest in elections on the list of parties that were not ashamed of their corruption. These candidates “won” and became MPs, thereby enjoying all the immunities that prevent their accountability and prosecution. This happened in spite the fact that Iraqi law prohibits any person from holding a public position if convicted of felony or any dishonorable misdemeanor, and corruption cases are one of the most dishonorable crimes!
Two of the currents MPs, who were governors before the elections, were transferred to the judiciary over corruption cases proven against them in court and verdicts were passed against them. However, they managed to evade the judgment based on the the amnesty law and returned to their previous appointments and then participated in the recent elections and “won”!
In the wake of this situation, the aforementioned outraged MP should not be surprised that his corrupt colleagues seek to become members of the Integrity Commission, especially when he knows the situation well and that there is nothing new to this country which is totally mired in corruption from the highest authority to the smallest employee in its administration.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein.