Experts call for hiring international companies to recover our stolen money
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Baghdad: Hoda Al-Azzawi
Recovering looted assets and funds inside and outside Iraq is one of the most important requirements that must be met in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption, Chapter Five. Iraq established and legislated the “Assets Recovery Fund,” and its law at the time included funds looted by the previous regime and smuggled through... Individuals and business companies registered in the names of individuals, after which Iraq obtained a UN Security Council resolution calling on countries to help Iraq recover its looted funds, including international banks.
An expert in the field of anti-corruption, Saeed Yassin Musa, indicated in an interview with “Al-Sabah”: “Iraq suffers from a legal gap in recovering assets after 2003. This is accompanied by the spread of financial and administrative corruption, which is protected by political corruption and the mechanism of forming the structure of the governance management system through... “Sectarian and ethnic quotas, which created an environment for exploiting influence by attacking public funds and inflating funds for a specific category of the structure of the governance system.”
He stated, “After analyzing the environment, it appeared that Iraq is in urgent need of legislating a law to recover looted funds inside and outside Iraq. The mechanisms are clear in recovering funds at home, but the challenge is how to recover assets and funds looted from abroad,” explaining, “Here we are faced with two dilemmas; The first is to complete the investigations and issue a final ruling for the majority of the accused who fled outside the country, meaning the recovery of the wanted persons, and after completing the judicial procedures, work will be done to freeze, seize and recover these funds. Here comes the importance of legislating the law to meet the 41 articles in the UN Convention against Corruption, while allowing the exchange of legal assistance between countries. The parties to the agreement are obligated to abide by and implement it, knowing that these funds have been integrated into the economies of the haven countries.”
He noted that, “At the international level, the law allows Iraq - after judicial procedures of conviction - to recover wanted persons by concluding bilateral agreements between Iraq and countries of refuge, followed by the recovery of funds and assets through judicial cooperation,” and indicated that “executively and in order to support these efforts, The Iraqi government has included a clause of mutual assistance in recovery within the economic cooperation agreements with the rest of the countries of the world so that it is binding on those countries. This is one of the tasks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice must review the procedures of international contracts with companies and governments to preserve the rights of Iraq by including clauses that prevent the smuggling of funds and harming Iraqi interests during Implementing these contracts, the Iraqi Judicial Council also concludes bilateral agreements with the judiciary in countries of sanctuary, and the Federal Integrity Commission leads these efforts through international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations Convention and the Arab Convention against Corruption.”
Moussa called for “assigning international law firms to file lawsuits before the courts in countries of refuge in exchange for receiving a percentage of the stolen funds when they are recovered, because these companies have knowledge and familiarity with the legal environment in their countries, and here we are faced with providing incentive initiatives for the wanted voluntary whistleblowers and rewarding the wanted whistleblowers.” "Those who are not wanted and exploit the presence of the Iraqi community in countries of refuge."
In turn, the Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Finance Committee for the fourth session, Dr. Ahmed Al-Saffar, said in an interview with “Al-Sabah”: “Although there are no accurate statistics for the funds smuggled from Iraq, they range between 400 and 500 billion dollars,” stressing the necessity of a money recovery law in The government still had the actual will to implement it.
Noting that, “Most of this money belongs to influential people who possess power and influence, and therefore if the government is able to recover any money, that is a necessary gain since it is public money, and that the process is possible, but it requires will and seriousness to confront the owners of this money because they possess power, influence, and external support.” .
Al-Saffar pointed out, “At the present time, many factors help in implementing this law, especially since there are very good relations between the current government and various countries of the world, especially those who have smuggled funds and foreign investments concentrated in European, Arab, and Gulf countries and some American banks, so “The opportunity can be exploited and this money can be recovered in accordance with a law on which the government relies to recover it.”
Edited by: Muhammad Al-Ansari
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