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Iraq corruption commissioner says rampant problem has cost $8B

[JURIST] Iraq has lost $8 billion through corruption over the past three years, Radi al-Radhi, the head of Iraq's public corruption commission, told AP Wednesday. Al-Radhi said his office has investigated 2,600 cases of wasted or stolen public funds, and blamed a clause of the Iraqi constitution [PDF text] for allowing cabinet ministers to block investigations. The Commission on Public Integrity [ICAC backgrounder] was established [press release; US State Department backgrounder] in 2004 and has the power to investigate complaints, refer criminal violations to the courts, and propose legislation to address corruption. Al-Radhi also said that 20 commission members have been murdered since the organization began, and that he himself has received death threats. AP has more.

In one high-profile case brought by the commission, former Iraqi Ministry of Electricity head Ayham al-Samaraie [Wikipedia profile] was sentenced last year to two years in prison on corruption charges [AP report] before he escaped from prison [JURIST report] and fled to Chicago. He still faces another 12 corruption charges stemming from over $2 billion in funding for Iraq's electrical infrastructure which has gone missing.

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