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Iraq says more than $60 million stolen from Mosul after governor's dismissal Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Iraq says more than $60 million stolen from Mosul after governor's dismissal

Date of publication: 22 April, 2019

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More than $60 million in public funds have been stolen by Mosul officials close to the province's sacked governor in the wake of last month's ferry sinking.

More than $60 million in public funds were stolen by Mosul officials close to the province's sacked governor in the wake of last month's ferry sinking, Iraqi officials alleged on Monday.

The money was embezzled in the wake of a tragic ferry sinking last month, which left more than 100 people dead, prompting parliament to unanimously sack governor Nawfel Akoub, who has been on the run since then and thought to be hiding out in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region.

Iraq's anti-corruption Integrity Commission said on Monday officials from the Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, had embezzled $64 million in public funds.

The stolen money included nearly $40 million reserved to rebuild the city, which was ravaged by three years of Islamic State group rule, followed by months of brutal fighting to oust the militants.

The Integrity Commission said in a statement that officials "close to Akoub" had embezzled the funds but did not accuse the runaway official personally.

The body said 14 officials were detained earlier this month after its investigation found that "cheques and wire transfers of public funds had been made out to the personal accounts of senior officials".

Media reports have noted that "just six million dollars" of the missing fund were recovered by the government.

Corruption is rampant across Iraq, which ranks among the world's worst offenders in Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index.

According to the Iraqi parliament, since 2004 - a year after the ousting of Saddam Hussein by US-led invasion - a total of $228 billion has been syphoned off by corrupt politicians and business people.

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