Iraqi former deputy electricity minister sentenced to six years for corruption

Raad Al Haris, an adviser to the PM, has been given a $10 million fine

The Supreme Judicial Council building in Baghdad. EPA
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A former deputy minister of electricity in Iraq was sentenced to six years in jail on Wednesday for corruption and mismanagement.

Raad Al Haris will also be fined $10 million after the Rusafa Criminal Court in Baghdad delivered the verdict, based on the findings of an investigation.

Al Haris received “financial bribes” and his conviction involved “the assignment of the electricity ministry’s project to affiliated sub-companies,” said a statement by the court.

Transparency International's corruption perception index has placed Iraq 160th out of 180 countries.

The public views the electricity ministry as one of the most corrupt state institutions.

In November 2020, Al Haris was arrested by Iraq's security forces based on a complaint from the committee set up to investigate major cases of corruption in the country.

The arrest warrant was issued despite the fact that Al Haris was an adviser to Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi.

Iraq's main power grid is plagued throughout the year by daily hours-long cuts, but the shortages worsen during the summer months when temperatures regularly reach 50 degrees and households rely on air conditioning.

Nearly $60 billion has been spent on the country's electricity sector since the US-led invasion in 2003, Mr Al Kadhimi said last year.

But the majority of the funds have been lost to corruption and mismanagement.

Nearly $450bn in public funds has vanished into the pockets of politicians and business representatives since 2003, the government estimates.

Updated: January 05, 2022, 5:55 PM