Tuesday, 18 January 2011

How Is Iraq's Anti-Corruption Committee Really Doing?


Iraq is the fifth most corrupt country in the world, according to the latest Transparency International report published last year. This bad news does not simply add another item to the endless list of Iraq’s problems - topped by security - it also raises serious questions about the future of democracy in the oil-rich country.
But nearly four years ago, the Iraqi government established the Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC). How effective has this committee been? Rudaw asked a range of members of parliament in Baghdad for their views on corruption in Iraq, and the role of the ACC in fighting it.

Aliya Nuseif, Iraqi lawmaker from the Iraqiya coalition:
The various factions in the Iraqi parliament, particularly the bigger ones, should have asked their members who are in parliament and in the government to disclose their finances before or [just] after the formation of the government. The coalitions should have done this before the ACC started asking officials to disclose their finances.

However, distributing these forms to government officials and parliamentarians is a very good thing, and it will have positive effects. At least, it will show that there is a committee and it is monitoring officials, [and] this committee will be more active in the future.

But the most important thing concerning [the results of] these forms is that the ACC reveals which officials were corrupt, which have been the most corrupt, and which were fighting corruption. The amount of corruption of each corrupt official should be made public. In the past, these forms were distributed to government officials and parliamentarians, but we did not see any results or changes.

Meanwhile, the statistics of the ACC show that corruption in Iraq amounted to US$1 billion in 2010. So, I believe it would better for the ACC to publicize the names, both of corrupt officials, and of those individuals working in the government who are involved in fighting corruption. In other words, the phase after distribution of the forms is as important as distributing them. If the results were made public, it would make Iraqi officials aware that there was a committee watching them.


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