Iraqi PM proposes parliament sacks Nineveh governor

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi proposed early Saturday morning that the Iraqi parliament remove Nineveh Governor Nawfal Hamadi from his post, citing “negligence and dereliction” of duty after nearly 100 people died when a ferry sank in Mosul’s Tigris River.

“Due to clear negligence and dereliction of their duties and responsibilities as well as the existence of evidence from investigations which prove [they are] the cause of wasting public money and exploiting their jobs… we suggest the dismissal of the governor and his deputies,” read an open letter from the prime minister to the Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi.

The political leadership is under pressure to take swift action to hold to account those responsible for the tragedy. The official death toll from the Ministry of Health stands at 96, mainly women and children celebrating Newroz at a popular island amusement park in the city.

A few hours after Abdul-Mahdi’s open letter, the governor published his own statement, asking influential Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to weigh in on the matter.

If Sistani “asks me to submit my resignation, I will not hesitate for a moment and I put my resignation in the hands of Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani,” Hamadi stated.

Sistani has not yet issued any statements on the Mosul tragedy.

The Sunni governor, who has been accused of corruption, denied any wrongdoing.

“Our local government is under pressure and false accusations… I have maintained integrity throughout my work,” he stated.

The governor is wildly unpopular in Mosul. Angry crowds prevented him from exiting his vehicle when he tried to visit the site of the accident on Friday. When he left, his SUV was attacked by people throwing stones and smashing windows.

The disaster has pushed the government into crisis mode. Abdul-Mahdi is chairing a crisis cell formed on Friday, excluding the governor. The prime minister, however, will travel to Egypt on Saturday.

His two-day working visit to Cairo is “difficult to postpone after being postponed multiple times,” he stated, adding that he is “embarrassed” he is leaving the country while he has declared three days of national mourning. Source

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