"The theft of the century" opens the file of looted Iraqi funds
The announcement of the theft of two and a half billion dollars in insurance funds frightens citizens and observers: Who will hold whom to account?
[size][You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Thursday 20 October 2022 16:42[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]This theft, which took place through more than 247 checks withdrawn from the "Rafidain" government bank, was described as "the theft of the century" (AFP)
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] received the announcement of the Minister of Finance who resigned from his position at the request of Parliament, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, about the largest theft in contemporary Iraqi [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] from the secretariats of merchants contracting with the state and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] as insurances to be recovered after completing the projects, with astonishment. Iraqi dinars (about two and a half billion dollars) were acquired by a group described by observers as "corrupt", and with the open complicity of financial departments in the aforementioned body, as well as senior banking departments, and others whose identity has not been revealed.
The amount was transferred to five new banks established for this purpose, and they are, according to informed sources (the whale, the humpback, the creators, the Baghdad winds, and the evening desert), and this theft, which took place through more than 247 checks withdrawn from the “Rafidain” government bank, was described as "The theft of the century", and its papers are still unfolding without announcing the partisan and political parties behind it.
How was the century stolen?
Several Iraqi sources concluded that it was a tight work that was carried out with the complicity of higher authorities that provided the government cover for it, as the money was withdrawn from an account in the “Al-Rafidain” Bank called (the Trust Account) and its money is deducted from any company that contracts with the Iraqi state as a guarantee to pay income tax later. And to ensure the integrity of the implementation of the contract, and the depositing company has the right to recover the amount with a written request to the Tax Authority, subject to regulatory and accounting audits, after completing its work, implementing the contract, handing over the project finally and paying all dues.[rtl]read more
The recovery of the insured amount is often through long, routine and complex procedures that make the owners of companies contracting with the state despair about the possibility of recovering those funds, according to the description of the researcher, Ghazi Rahho. An additional reason is that the company did not implement the contract accurately, as researcher Hamid Al-Saadi assures us.
The Iraqi state record indicates that the former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi requested in February 2017 through his office that an audit be conducted to return the sums of trusts through the Governmental Financial Supervision Bureau, but the matter changed for reasons that the currently formed investigative committee is ignorant of. The House of Representatives asked the Minister of Finance to limit the audit process to the Tax Authority exclusively without the participation of the Financial Supervision Bureau, which is the discreet and expert body in financial auditing. Remarkably from the Prime Minister’s office this time during the same month, as the head of the Tax Authority insisted on limiting the supervisory audit to the authority, which is the number one implicated in this case, to start later withdrawing those funds to the account of the five banks, and then Haitham Al-Jubouri was appointed as a financial advisor to the prime minister .
MP Basem Khashan, adviser to the caretaker prime minister and former head of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Haitham al-Jubouri, is accused of what he described as "covering up the theft of tax deposits", and that he is the author of the proposal to audit the disbursement of trust funds by the General Tax Authority, a proposal that formed the cover that the commission was hoping for. .
The deputy said, "The Chairman of the Finance Committee was appointed as an advisor to the Prime Minister, perhaps to complete what he started in the House of Representatives. All those involved in this crime, perhaps one of the biggest thefts in history, will be held accountable," he said.
The government advisor
But Haitham al-Jubouri justifies his proposal by saying, "If I returned as chairman of the Parliamentary Finance Committee ten times, I would have done the same, because I am convinced of the principle that whoever monitors should not participate in the implementation, and my connection to the project is limited to being a legislator and observer who can propose what he sees, and whoever goes to the proposal has the right to accept." or rejection).
The accusations also targeted general managers in the state, as confirmed by researcher Ghazi Rahho, and the completion of the withdrawal of funds was accompanied by the resignation of the Minister of Finance after announcing the longest speech in the history of resignations in the country, indicating the indicators of the collapse of the Iraqi economy and its achievements as a minister at the same time, which provoked Iraqi public opinion and specialists’ criticism of his speech Who is devoid of diagnosing the withdrawals of those funds through one of his departments and under his responsibility.
This operation opened a long file of manifestations of corruption in Iraq, says former MP Mishaan al-Jubouri, who revealed that “the theft of two and a half billion dollars is only an episode of the series of thefts that preceded this major theft that took place during the period from September (September) 2020 until August 2021".
Al-Jubouri confirms that "the matter actually goes back to 2015, when the process of seizing insurance funds began in the tax and customs departments during the Abadi government, and the estimates of those in charge of the investigation, which came out in 250 pages, confirm that the amount stolen is fifteen trillion Iraqi dinars (equivalent to about ten billions of dollars),” he said.
Al-Kazemi refers to the judiciary
For his part, the outgoing Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, said, “The issue of funds withdrawn from the Tax Authority in the Ministry of Finance calls for standing up to the climates that helped spread corruption in the joints of that body, and participated in providing a cover for the attack on public money, which are matters that go beyond Omar’s life. The current government, my government has previously discovered this breach based on data and indications that indicate it, so it hastened to open investigations and move forward with the necessary legal procedures in cooperation with the judiciary, and all evidence and documents were handed over to the court months ago.”
Al-Kazemi, who did not indict a specific party, adds, “We confirm that this government has followed the legal procedures in place by the relevant authorities in the Integrity Commission and the Specialized Judiciary, and provided all documents, evidence and clues that contribute to uncovering the truth and knowing the aggressors on public money.” The Prime Minister was severely criticized by the media, which thought that he would reveal the political parties behind the largest open economic crime in the history of Iraq.
What can the Sudanese do?
The newly elected Prime Minister, Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani, faces this file amid an uproar of public opinion calling for retribution for the perpetrators and the recovery of the looted money.
However, researcher Mazen Sahib Al-Shammari believes that “any attempt to apply the law to the quota parties means removing the Sudanese or those who are trying to address this file, because political and societal corruption is a structural system called quotas protected by political money and the weapon of militias in order to perpetuate the state of the state.” He wondered, “there are more Out of twenty thousand corruption files, if you open who will be prosecuted?
Many researchers and activists sought to know the parties involved in this theft, which all sources indicate that two armed parties facilitated its procedures without mentioning their identities, due to the lack of written documents to prove this.
Economic experts confirm that the total Iraqi revenues for the period that were counted between 2003-2020 amounted to one trillion and one hundred and nine billion US dollars, at a time when the total expenditures for that period amounted to 998 billion and 632 million dollars, meaning that there is savings in the state treasury amounted, according to the latest study of the Chairman of the Committee Studies, statistics and accounting in the Iraqi Forum for Elites and Competencies Hamid Shukr, 110 billion and 166 million dollars, an amount sufficient for the reconstruction of Iraq from north to south, as he claimed, but it evaporated.
Shukr says that Iraq witnessed what can be described as an assassination of public money by evading the payment of taxes, customs fees and state debts, and the waste and corruption that took place in public expenditures. He accuses the Iraqi Ministry of Finance during the era of Ali Allawi, who resigned months ago, of being behind this.