Iraqi PM announces second batch of stolen tax funds

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on Sunday announced the recovery of the second batch of the $2.5 billion stolen in tax funds, bringing the total amount recovered to 317 billion dinars [over $217 million].

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office, “a second part of the stolen money was recovered.” The amount recovered on Sunday is over 134 billion Iraqi dinars which were deposited in a bank were recovered.

Former Iraqi Minister of Oil Ihsan Abdul Jabbar revealed the “theft” on October 15, saying “when he was acting finance minister, his investigation revealed that 3.7 trillion Iraqi dinars in tax deposits had disappeared from Rafidain Bank.”

On October 16, the Iraqi Integrity Commission announced the launch of an investigation into the case.

On November 27, Sudani announced in a televised speech that a total of 182.7 billion Iraqi dinars have been retrieved which were stolen from the tax funds.

The Prime Minister vowed at the time that “the investigations will not leave out anyone involved in this crime, the accused are being pursued, and we are working hard to recover all the stolen money.”

According to Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, Iraq ranks 157th out of 180 in terms of public sector corruption.

Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani has stressed the importance of fighting corruption in his speeches since taking office.

December 9 is World Anti-Corruption Day. Officials from the three Iraqi presidencies have reiterated their efforts to fight corruption.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said in a statement on World Anti-Corruption Day that “Pervasive and systemic corruption is one of the biggest challenges facing Iraq,” adding that everyone should work together “to fight for accountability, transparency and the rule of law.”

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