Iraq refers ex-ministers, senior figures to anti-graft body on corruption charges

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi 

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday referred a bunch of former ministers and senior figures into independent anti-graft body the Commission of Integrity on charges of corruption.

The referral decision came at a time several southern and central Iraqi provinces are witnessing mass protests over the lack of basic services and widespread corruption, Al-Watan Newspaper reported.

The paper did not specify the names or exact numbers of officials referred to the anti-graft body.

Two weeks ago, Abadi issued a decision sacking Electricity Minister Qassim al-Fahdawi “due to deteriorating electricity services”. The decision was just a bid by Abadi to quell mass demonstrations that have swept several southern and central provinces for a month.

The move came a day after the Independent High Electoral Commission endorsed Abadi’s recommendations to sack five election officials after widespread allegations of fraud and irregularities in the May 12 parliamentary elections.

Mass demonstrations against unemployment, corruption and poor electricity services spread further across southern and central Iraqi provinces a month ago.

The demonstrations started in Basra province, but they later extended to other cities, including Amara, Nasiriya, Karbala and the Shiite holy city of Najaf. There were also protests in parts of the capital, Baghdad.

The protests prompted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to rush from a NATO summit in Brussels to Basra to meet with local officials and tribal leaders in a bid to restore calm.

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