Charges come as Baghdad takes critical steps in eliminating corruption
Iraqi court issues 26 jail sentences to corrupt politicans
Iraq’s anti-corruption court has issued 26 jail sentences to high-ranking Iraqi officials in a push to eliminate corruption and fraud in the country.
Prime minister Haider Al Abadi announced on Wednesday that his government had taken crucial steps to stem corruption, which has crippled the economy.
“We have taken rapid steps to tackle corruption, we have arrested and charged a number of corrupt officials,” Mr Al Abadi said in a tweet.
The sentences ranged from six months to 15 years.
Among the prominent names were the director of transparency and corruption prevention in the Integrity Commission, Abdel Ilah Khadim Al Aboodi, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Former defence ministry secretary general Bruska Noori Aweys was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Mr Aweys is the brother of Rowsch Nuri Shaways, former deputy prime minister.
The previous defence minister Hazim Al Shalan was sentenced to 13 years in jail as well as Mohsin Shlash, the previous minister of electricity for seven years.
Abdel Amir Baker Khathim, the general manager of the department of finance, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Mr Khathim is also the brother of previous national security adviser, Mowaffak Al Rubaie who currently resides in London.
The previous minister of agriculture, Sawsan Al Sharifi was also convicted of graft charges and sentenced to five years in prison, while former transport director general Faisal Naji Malo was jailed for seven years.
Other sentences include former ministers of oil, trade, youth and sport.
These charges come as Baghdad is steeped in a series of high-profile investigations into alleged corruption by Iraqi officials, including the trade minister and the governor of Basra.
“Those that are corrupt have abused the country’s freedom to serve their own personal interests,” Mr Al Abadi said last week.
“Corruption is a scourge and we will work to combat it and to defend justice and prevent corruption from creeping in," Mr Abadi said. Despite the billions spent, “there has not been evidence of development… Inequality and injustice leads to the destruction of society".
Iraq is ranked 166 out of 176 nations in Transparency International's Corruption Index.