Saturday, October 31, 2020

Iraq government officials found guilty in $1.68 million fraud scheme

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Iraq’s Commission of Integrity on Thursday announced that two government officials and one of their employees were found guilty of a scheme to cash fraudulent checks worth more than two billion Iraqi dinars, or just under $1.68 million.

The commission’s main investigation unit said that the case had been referred to the judicial system after providing evidence of the crimes allegedly committed by Maysan province’s deputy governor for financial affairs, the head of provincial development accounts, and an employee in his office. The charges claim they cashed invalidated checks for state funds already paid to various contractors.

“647 checks have been cashed from the accounts of one of the branches of Rashid Bank,” read a statement.

A court in Maysan specializing in prosecuting corruption cases sentenced the three convicted to unspecified prison sentences.

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On Feb. 12, the Commission on Integrity announced that the former director-general of the Rabia border crossing between Iraq and Syria has been convicted, along with three of his employees, of misusing $17.5 million worth of public money by smuggling oil.

A statement released by the commission’s Investigation Office stated that the case was transferred to the federal judiciary following a probe that revealed that the accused had been smuggling crude oil derivatives through the border crossing by manipulating check-point documentation.

Iraq continues to rank high on Transparency International’s list for corruption, fraud, and mismanagement of state institutions, some of the most significant challenges facing the country since the fall of the former regime in 2003.

According to the organization’s 2019 Corruption Index, Iraq ranks 162nd, the 17th most corrupt country out of a total of 180.

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