Iraq lawmakers 'fleeing abroad over fears of corruption charges'

Iraq lawmakers 'fleeing abroad over fears of corruption charges under incoming government'

2 min read
01 July, 2018
Incumbent members of Iraq's parliament are reportedly fleeing the country en masse out of fears they will be prosecuted on corruption charges after a new parliament is sworn in.
Iraq has been riddled with corruption since a US-led invasion in 2003 [Getty]

Incumbent members of Iraq's parliament are reportedly fleeing the country en masse out of fears they will be prosecuted on corruption charges after a new parliament is sworn in.

An official at Baghdad International Airport told The New Arab's Arabic-language service on Sunday about the mass exodus of lawmakers.

"Last week around 45 parliamentarians from various blocs flew out of the county on one-way tickets," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

"Some have travelled with their families to various countries such as Iran, Turkey, Egypt and other places," he said, adding they could likely be fleeing before their parliamentary immunity expires.

Parliamentary polls in May were won by populist Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr's joint list with communists, as long-time political figures were pushed out by voters seeking change in a country mired in conflict and corruption.

Sadr's main focus has been waging a public campaign against widespread graft.

Earlier this month, parliament ordered a full recount of the vote, after results showed two-thirds of its members lost their seats.

Iraq has been riddled with corruption since a US-led invasion in 2003 installed a new government.

Funds have gone missing from public coffers for a decade-and-a-half with many politicians becoming overnight millionaires in a country widely perceived as being one of the most corrupt in the world.

Abdel Falah al-Sudani, a former trade minister, was recently sentenced to 21 years in prison after being found guilty of corruption weeks after Interpol handed him over to Iraqi authorities.