Iraqi officials arrested as part of Kadhimi’s anti-corruption campaign
BAGHDAD – Iraqi forces arrested the former director general of the General Pension Authority Ahmed Al-Saadi along with six officials on corruption charges Tuesday as part of the government’s anti-corruption campaign led by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Iraqi sources indicated, according to local media, that the military forces mobilised to arrest Saadi and the six officials, acting on orders from Kadhimi.
The same sources noted that arrests of other senior officials will be carried out soon.
Saadi was arrested in central Baghdad by a force from the Counter-Terrorism Service, led by Lieutenant General Ahmed Abu Ragheef, in charge of combating corruption.
Following his arrest, Saadi will be presented Wednesday to the investigating judge of integrity in Rusafa.
Kadhimi dismissed Saadi from his post in June and appointed Iyad Mahmoud to replace him.
Earlier this month, Khadhimi ordered the formation of a permanent committee to investigate corruption cases. He also instructed the forces of the Counter-Terrorism Service to implement decisions issued by investigative judges or specialised courts related to corruption cases.
This is the first time that a body belonging to the Army Special Forces has been assigned a task formerly entrusted to security forces.
Originally created by the United States, the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service forces were armed and trained by the American Army to combat ISIS militants in the country.
Since Kadhimi took office, there have been wide-ranging shake-ups affecting high-ranking positions in Iraq.
Kadhimi recently appointed Mustafa Ghaleb as Central Bank governor. Among other important appointments were the naming of Manhal Aziz Raouf al-Haboubi as mayor of Baghdad and the appointment of former Defence Minister Khalid Al Obeidi as deputy of operations affairs in the Iraqi National Intelligence Service.
The fight against corruption is at the top of the demands of widespread popular protests that erupted in the country last October against corruption and the deterioration of basic public services.
By the end of November, the protests forced former Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to resign.
Iraq is one of the world’s most corrupt states, ranking 162 out of 180 nations, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
Political infighting and corruption have crippled the country’s efforts to recover from sanctions under former President Saddam Hussein and the conflicts that followed the 2003 US invasion that toppled him, including three years of devastating war to defeat ISIS in 2017.