Iraqi premier removes 123 officials as part of reform plan
Responding to the public outcry over corruption, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has removed 123 high-ranking officials as part of his “comprehensive plan” to combat corruption in the war-hit country.
“In a bid to implement the package of reforms and to take measures to increase the efficiency of performance in state institutions, the Premier removed 123 deputy ministers and director generals”, his office said in a statement on Wednesday.
These officials were either retired or had their post adjusted by administrative law in accordance with instructions issued by the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, the statement further read, without giving the names of these officials or how many fell into each category.
On August 11, the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved Abadi’s proposals aimed at uprooting corruption and reducing government costs.
The measure was based on a reform plan urged by Iraq’s most senior Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, on August 7. The cleric called on the premier to resolve internal issues in the government and take “drastic measures” against corruption.
On August 17, al-Abadi cut 11 cabinet posts as part of the wide-ranging reform program. The cuts included three deputy prime minister positions as well as several ministries, leaving the Iraqi cabinet with just 22 ministers.
On August 21, Ayatollah Sistani also said the reform campaign must continue, and the government must quickly prosecute the “big thieves of public funds.”
Meanwhile, Iraq’s anti-corruption court says it is investigating over 90 lawsuits, some of which against former and current members of the parliament. The court says it cannot summon the lawmakers because of their parliamentary immunity.