27 May 2021
European Union Delegation to Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Iraqi federal and Kurdistan state institutions have jointly launched €15 million project entitled ‘Support to justice initiatives curbing corruption and promoting commercial dispute resolution’, to propagate transparency and accountability across state institutions. The project is aimed at enabling Iraq to comply with with the United Nations Convention against Corruption and to attract economic investments. It will also improve public awareness and transparency in the administration.
Objective of this project is to revise the corruption laws in line with international standards and to provide training to corruption investigators and integrity judges.
Corruption is pervasive at all levels of government. In 2021, President Barham Salih said that $150 billion of oil money had been smuggled out of Iraq in corrupt deals since the 2003 invasion. The invasion caused corruption among politicians and public service. In 2020 Iraq ranked 160 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Corruption is a major obstacle for doing business in Iraq. Iraqi civil servants go around the neighborhood to inspect construction sites. When they spot wrongdoings, such as an extra floor in a building, an agreement is struck with the developer. The public official takes a bribe and in return, the state employee reduces the fine. The contractor pays the fine, which is pretty small and continues with the construction. Very little of these fines get into the government hands. This is how the corruption persists in Iraq.