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Iraqi anti-corruption head says graft worse than in Saddam's time
Published: Thursday March 8, 2007
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dpa German Press Agency

Cairo - Corruption in Iraq is now worse than it was during Saddam Hussein's regime, the Chairman of Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity (CPI), Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, said in an interview published Thursday in the Arabic-language Asharq Alawsat newspaper.

'There are eight ministers and 40 general directors against whom corruption charges have been brought and they had all fled abroad,' he said.

According to Al-Radhi, the commission was currently investigating the embezzlement of public funds to the tune of eight billion US dollars.

Independent observers in Baghdad report that it is very difficult to find an official who will discharge a public service without a bribe.

Al-Radhi conceded that the authority itself has been found guilty of corruption on several occasions.

However, he said,the problems which the commision had experienced were not of the magnitude that its critics had claimed.

The CPI was established in January 2003 by the now disbanded Iraqi Interim Governing Council to curb bribery, embezzlement, and the misuse of power and public funds.

In the latest corruption index of the Organization Transparency International, Iraq was found to be the fourth most corrupt country in the world.

2007 - dpa German Press Agency