Iraqi investment official jailed for four years for corruption

Shakir Al Zamili is under investigation in six other corruption cases

Corrupt officials are being brought before courts in Iraq.  EPA
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The former head of Baghdad’s investment commission has been sentenced to four years in prison for corruption by an Iraqi court.

Shakir Al Zamili, who is being investigated in six other corruption cases, was sentenced late on Sunday.

“The Criminal Court in Karkh sentenced the accused, Shakir Al Zamili, to four years in prison and a fine of 10 million Iraqi dinars,” the court said. Ten million dinars is about $6,860.

The sentence was issued based on the findings of the country’s anti-corruption committee.

“The charges were based on taking bribes for the Baghdad Star housing project. Other cases against the accused are still under investigation,” the court said.

Earlier this month, Iraq sentenced the former deputy minister of electricity to six years in jail for corruption and mismanagement.

Raad Al Haris will also be fined $10 million, the Rusafa Criminal Court in Baghdad said.

Al Haris received “financial bribes” and his conviction involved “the assignment of the Electricity Ministry’s project to affiliated sub-companies,” the court said.

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 after a committee was set up to investigate major cases of corruption.

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

More than $450 billion in public funds has vanished into the pockets of politicians, political loyalists and businessmen since the 2003 US-led invasion, a parliamentary study found in 2020.

The country's courts are known to be profoundly corrupt, with judges paid off to ignore evidence or deliver certain verdicts.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi has launched an anti-corruption committee and several top officials have been arrested.

Each prime minister to take office since the 2003 invasion has launched his own anti-corruption initiative, with varying degrees of success.

Updated: January 31, 2022, 10:33 AM