Don961:  Iraq ‘s smuggled and frozen funds

Sunday 17 February 2019

Baghdad / Ahmed Mohammed

There is still no accurate statistics on the volume of Iraqi funds smuggled and frozen abroad, and the road to recovery is still long and not paved in full, and despite the draft bill to recover Iraqi money on the table of the House of Representatives, but the law did not read the first reading to be deported to the second legislative term Central A parliamentary debate on this law, to keep those funds as national wealth suspended until the adoption of special legislation and the steps to implement the executive recovery, and then remain those great wealth wasted by corruption pending a national decision firm.

A member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee MP for the construction block Abdul Amir Al-Mayahi said in a statement to “Sabah”: “The file of the recovery of Iraqi funds is sterile and did not take any action on it, especially in light of the end of the first legislative term,” but, “But as a committee talked about this There will be a decisive position to recover the funds in the second legislative term and there will be a committee to follow up the file,” he said.

Continuous bleeding

The MP Abbas al-Zamili said in a statement to the “morning”, “The first reading of the law of graft was not even a second by the House of Representatives with the end of the first legislative term, but in general the House of Representatives directed to fight corruption effectively and the recovery of Iraqi funds, They were at home or abroad and accounting spoilers. ”

Al-Zamili pointed out that there is agreement and coordination at the highest levels between the other alliances and the opening to fight corruption in the next phase to stop the cessation of the depletion of Iraqi funds, whether inside or outside the country, we are in front of the upgrading of services and reconstruction and the elimination of unemployment, Iraq is in a new phase He desperately needs to recover the money that was taken under duress and without right. “

Money laundering

The corruption expert Said Yassin Moussa said in a statement to the “morning”, that “in light of the accumulation of files of corruption after 2003 and the delay in the implementation of projects with the monitoring of large budgets and the delay of the audit authorities in the audit and reconciliation accounts and final accounts; the funds go in two ways are the first downloads Directly outside Iraq, and the second is the imaginary import through which the money laundering, therefore, this money was not spent on the projects that were monitored in the public budget and were approved until 2018, so we have more than 3800 projects lagging behind and their money smuggled to the States The sanctuary T-Iraq has not been held with judicial cooperation agreements to recover money in addition to the convicts. ”

“A committee has been set up to recover the looted funds and assets in the prime minister’s office since the Abbadi government, which still exists,” he said. “The Integrity Commission, the Financial Supervision Bureau, the Intelligence Service, a representative of the judiciary, Interpol, a representative of the Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank money laundering, who were able and with great efforts to recover Falah al-Sudani and Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defense and others did not announce them, who agreed in turn to include payment of funds with the inclusion of the amnesty law.

“There are more than 50 files to be recovered, and this is what called on the Supreme Judicial Council to visit Jordan, Lebanon, Iran and the United Nations to develop judicial cooperation agreements for this file in addition to other files,” Moussa said.

“Corruption is an international commitment that includes more than 180 countries in the world. We need international cooperation and support through international organizations because each file needs at least 10 years to recover convicts and money.” 

He explained that “Iraq must take proactive steps to prevent the smuggling of these funds, and the Central Bank and through the Department of money laundering and in cooperation with the World Bank began to work within the law of control of bank transfers and this has happened during the past two years of illegal transfer of funds and smuggling.”

Activate committees

“The money recovery committee must be activated to act as a catalyst for the prosecution of looted funds, especially the proceeds of these funds. There is a large map of the funds and properties frozen and reserved by the countries of refuge that need judicial judgment to recover them. Integrity and all concerned parties to issue an official statement of the progress made in the recovery of these files, “noting that” the Fund of Iraq funds in the Ministry of Finance almost paralyzed, so we need in the coming periods to activate it, and when the recovery of funds from the sanctuary should be placed in a special fund for Bern Development and promotion of the education and services sector, women, youth, childhood and incurable diseases, it is within the international standard that the money returned to the treasury of the state so as not to complete its second session in corruption.
Moussa proposed to the Iraqi government to complete the prosecution, “the agreement with international legal firms that have experience in the laws of the countries of the sanctuary of doubtful funds and wanted to work to recover money for 10 percent of every 100 million, so as not to remain an opportunity for spoilers in the manipulation of state sovereignty and prestige, So in the form of integrity to make efforts to recover these funds. ”

Weak control

For his part, confirms the specialist in the financial sector, Dr. Imad al-Harish al-Tamimi said in a statement to “morning”, that the looted Iraqi funds found a safe haven in neighboring countries, so requires the concerned authorities to benefit from any international initiative, whether the World Bank or the United Nations or Arab countries to facilitate their recovery. “

He pointed out that “there are no accurate statistics or estimates of the volume of Iraqi funds smuggled out of Iraq, despite the follow-up recovery by several bodies, the first Iraqi judiciary article 122 of the Iraqi Code of Criminal Procedure No. 23 of 1971, (10) for the year 2008 and the Fund for the recovery of Iraq’s funds under its law No. (9) for 2012, “noting that” the value of smuggled money over billions of dollars have been whitened and washed in some countries and invested in the recovery of their economies, Or investments in these countries to which they have fled. “

He adds Tamimi, that ” One of the most important reasons for the smuggling of funds outside Iraq is the weakness of the Central Bank’s control over the work of banks in dealing with foreign currency, the lack of follow-up of the file of the recovery of funds smuggled abroad and the collection of information and follow-up of accused wanted outside Iraq, and the recovery of these funds in cooperation with the concerned parties or develop a strategy to exploit the conventions International and international initiatives that include mechanisms for the recovery of looted funds smuggled abroad, since most of these treaties and conventions stipulate that requesting States may request supplementary clarifications from requesting States before But this is facing some difficulties with regard to the pretexts of such States in responding to the request for extradition. “The financial expert regretted that”

International agreements

“The International Convention against Corruption and the Restitution of Unlawful Funds has resulted in international cooperation to comply with the provisions of the Convention,” said Hisham Zamili, a legal expert at the Ministry of Finance. Which was introduced by Iraq in 2007 and agreed to abide by all its provisions and to enact a law appropriate to its data. “

Al-Zamili pointed out that “the law of the Fund for the recovery of Iraq’s funds No. 9 of 2012 based on what was approved by the House of Representatives and approved by the President of the Republic and based on the provisions of the first item of Article 61 and Article III of Article 73 of the Iraqi Constitution in force for the year 2005 and provided for 12 articles and its conclusion from In order to recover the financial rights of all the Republic of Iraq illegally obtained by non-Iraqis and foreigners as a result of misuse of the oil-for-food program, economic blockade, smuggling and sabotage. ”

“In the international legal committees of the Convention, States parties are obliged to enact domestic laws commensurate with the provisions of the international convention, as Iraq did when the Iraq Recovery Fund Law No. 9 of 2012 was enacted, and there is a possibility to recover such funds if the Prior knowledge of the laws of other States, and in the end all the States parties to the Convention abide by and enact laws for this purpose because the conventions of international norms jus cogens and can not be violated.   link