Lawmaker uncovers mass misspending in Dhi Qar, seeks probe

Lawmaker uncovers mass misspending in Dhi Qar, seeks probe

Shafaq News/ A member of the Iraqi Parliament representing Dhi Qar, Adel al-Rikabi, has ignited controversy by alleging rampant waste and mismanagement in local development projects in the governorate.

In a statement to Shafaq News Agency on Wednesday, al-Rikabi claimed that the majority of the 315 projects initiated in Dhi Qar since 2007 have been "fictitious," leading to the disappearance of billions of dinars.

"Only 52 projects, constituting a mere 17% of the total, have been completed, and even these exhibit poor construction quality," al-Rikabi said.

He went a step further, alleging that projects across various sectors – housing complexes, private schools, medical clinics, industrial ventures, and agricultural initiatives – were" all essentially fictitious" .

Dhi Qar, according to al-Rikabi, is "drowning in a sea of phantom projects." He vowed to compile evidence against the parties responsible for this embezzlement, stating, "I will bring this entire matter to the Integrity Commission to ensure accountability for all those involved."

Dhi Qar was designated a "disaster zone" by the Iraqi government, leading to the establishment of a dedicated Dhi Qar Reconstruction Fund by the Council of Ministers and Parliament.

Iraq ranks 154 out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2023 corruption perceptions index.

The Iraqi cabinet in October 2023 approved the Right to Information bill and submitted the draft to the parliament for consideration. The bill aims to promote transparency in the government’s work by granting citizens the right to request access to state documents and information.

In September, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said during a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York that the fight against endemic corruption in Iraq, long plagued by a myriad of conflicts and wars, remains the government’s foremost priority.

"Identifying and combatting corruption has been our foremost priority. We have taken measures to pursue individuals involved in corruption, regardless of their positions or affiliations, and handed them over to the judiciary for accountability," al-Sudani told the UN.

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