Corruption


Outgoing Abadi signs blow to Turkish Imports

By Fehim Tastekin for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

While Turkey was eagerly anticipating a new government in Baghdad to sort out many problems with Iraq, a last minute decision by the outgoing prime minister has added a fresh item to the list of ongoing disagreements between the two countries.

Haider al-Abadi unexpectedly signed a decree to set up three new checkpoints in government-controlled areas in northern Iraq that will effectively slash Turkey’s trade with it.

The trucks that enter the country normally pass through the sole border crossing that is controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and will now also have to pass at least one of these additional checkpoints.

Click here to read the full story.

Outgoing Abadi signs blow to Turkish Imports

By Fehim Tastekin for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

While Turkey was eagerly anticipating a new government in Baghdad to sort out many problems with Iraq, a last minute decision by the outgoing prime minister has added a fresh item to the list of ongoing disagreements between the two countries.

Haider al-Abadi unexpectedly signed a decree to set up three new checkpoints in government-controlled areas in northern Iraq that will effectively slash Turkey’s trade with it.

The trucks that enter the country normally pass through the sole border crossing that is controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and will now also have to pass at least one of these additional checkpoints.

Click here to read the full story.

Corruption now “Biggest Threat to Iraq”

Corruption has become the biggest threat to the future stability of Iraq following the defeat of Islamic State, Britain’s ambassador in Baghdad has told the Evening Standard newspaper in London.

Jon Wilks said that although there were “remnants” of IS still present, the country was “settling down ahead of expectations” and starting to recover from decades of war and insurgent attacks.

But he warned that corruption — which this month sparked violent protests in Iraq’s second city Basra — still posed a significant risk because of the negative effect that it had on business investment and public confidence.

Full report here.

(Source: Evening Standard)

Minister to Brief Parliament on Duty-Free Contracts

In May of this year, we reported claims that Iraq’s anti-corruption bodies were investigating the contract to operate the duty-free shops at Baghdad and Basra airports, following reports of corruption from Al-Ahad TV.

According to a new report from Al-Ahad TV, and to documents recently received by Iraq Business News (see below), the Iraqi Parliament has recently written to the Minister of Transport asking him to appear in parliament to answer questions in relation to a varitety of matters, including apparent irregularities in the extention of the contracts with Iraq Duty Free, which is owned by Financial Links.

The report alleges that the provision of 5 busses, 200 passenger trollies and other items to the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) amounts to bribery and corruption, contrary to Iraqi Law.

The Parliamentary Anti-Corruption Bureau has also written to the Inspector General for the Ministry of Transport asking him to investigate the contract.

Iraq Duty Free denies any wrongdoing.

We’ll report more details as the story unfolds.

Additional information:

New report from Al-Ahad TV (in Arabic):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeoCezS5QNc

Original article:

http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2018/05/15/were-duty-free-contracts-illegally-granted/

 

 

Former Defense Ministry Official Jailed for Corruption

By John Lee.

A former deputy general secretary at Iraq’s Ministry of Defense has reportedly been sentenced to six years in prison corruption.

According to Rudaw, Ziad al-Qattan was conviced in relation to three contracts to supply the Ministry with light weaponry and military equipment.

He held the position during the Iraqi Transitional Government of May 2005 to May 2006.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

Pharma Firm pays $25m to Resolve Corrupt Payments

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi has agreed to pay more than $25 million to resolve charges that its Kazakhstan and the Middle East subsidiaries made corrupt payments to win business.

According to the SEC’s order, the schemes spanned multiple countries and involved bribe payments to government procurement officials and healthcare providers in order to be awarded tenders and to increase prescriptions of its products.

In the Middle East, various pay-to-prescribe schemes were used to induce healthcare providers to increase their prescriptions of Sanofi products.

In Iraq, for example, a healthcare professional (HCP) requesting samples of Taxotere in 2012 was also provided with consulting, speaking, and clinical trial fees over a period of years despite the lack of documentation of other support to demonstrate the services had been provided. Sanofi paid to the HCP the equivalent in local currency of USD 28,900 in consulting fees and, USD 5500 in speaking fees.

Sanofi also paid to the HCP USD 125,997 in clinical trial fees. The consulting fees were purportedly related to hosting events and training for HCPs in Iraq. No supporting documentation was found for any of the purported consultancy services. While the clinical trial fees were approved by Medical Affairs, the HCP has never provided reports of findings or observations.

The HCP, who provided the ostensible speaking, consulting, and clinical trial services to Sanofi, requested that the consulting and clinical trial fees be paid by check to an unrelated individual.

Sanofi accommodated the request to pay the unrelated individual without explanation or justification.

“Bribery in connection with pharmaceutical sales remains as a significant problem despite numerous prior enforcement actions involving the industry and life sciences more generally,” said Charles Cain, FCPA Unit Chief, SEC Enforcement Division. “While bribery risk can impact any industry, this matter illustrates that more work needs to be done to address the particular risks posed in the pharmaceutical industry.”

The SEC’s order finds that Sanofi violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws. Without admitting or denying the findings, Sanofi agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to pay $17.5 million in disgorgement, $2.7 million in prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty of $5 million.

The SEC appreciates the assistance of Fraud Section of the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Autorité des marchés financiers in France.

(Source: SEC)

UNDP supports Commission of Integrity to Fight Corruption

UNDP support to the Commission of Integrity to fight corruption

A technical study visit is currently being organized in Korea by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC) for a high-ranking delegation from the Iraqi Integrity commission, to benefit from the Korea’s innovative, well tested-and-proven policy tools to compact corruption.

This activity is part of a larger UNDP led programme to support the Iraqi government in its efforts to fight corruption, that is framed by the MoU signed between UNDP and the Iraqi government in 2016.

This visit also comes under the framework of the recently signed MoU between the Iraqi Integrity commission CoI and Korea Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC). The aim of the visit is to equip the Iraqi Commission of Integrity with the technical knowledge and insight on the implementation of Korea’s policy tools especially the Anti-Corruption Initiative Assessment (AIA), implemented in Korea since 2002 for effective monitoring and implementation of anti-corruption measures in public institutions.

The AIA will be customized to the Iraqi context to implement a National Corruption Index.

The inaugural session was chaired by the Standing Commissioner of the ACRC Mr. Hyeon Kim, who said:

“Iraq is the first Arab State who signed an MoU with Korea, and also the first country from the Arab region who would like to benefit from the Korea’s experience and the innovative policies and tools that have been in place and tremendously, helped in improving the corruption prevention measures in the public sector.”

The head of Iraqi Delegation expressed the eagerness to actualize the MoU signed between the CoI and ACRC in last April. This study visit is the kick off of a long-term collaboration and knowledge sharing between the two entities and a significant milestone towards building an effective partnership that is supported by joint efforts by the UNDP Iraq and the Seoul Centre to reinforce the Iraqi government’s efforts in fighting corruption.

(Source: UNDP)

Workshop on Tackling Corruption

Comprehend the Corruption Perception Index CPI to introduce meaningful Anti-Corruption Reforms

The United Nations Development Program UNDP, in partnership with the Iraqi Commission of Integrity, organized a workshop designed to discuss and provide an understanding on the data and methodologies used to rank countries on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The Workshop organized jointly with the Transparency International (TI), and hosted by the Iraqi Anti-Corruption Academy bringing together for the first-time government officials with civil society representatives to meaningfully discuss the factors influencing the corruption perception in the public sector.

The Regional advisor for Arab States in Transparency International Ms. Kinda Hattar facilitated the very interactive discussion among the participants who acquired in-depth knowledge on the source of information, and the global surveys that feed into the CPI.

Moreover, the discussion led to recognize the institutional changes and reforms needed to introduce impactful results on combating and preventing corruption.

The workshop is a significant milestone towards building a partnership between the UNDP, TI, Iraqi Government and stakeholders to reinforce the government’s efforts in fighting corruption.

This workshop was followed by several high-level meetings with government officials to discuss practical action plans to sensitize relevant public institutions and civil society to fight corruption.

UNDP through its FFER-Federal Project has already deployed high-caliber international experts to support Anti-Corruption activities and to build the capacity of relevant government entities engaged in fighting corruption.

(Source: UNDP)

AstraZeneca Investigated for Alleged Corruption in Iraq

By John Lee.

UK-bassed pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has said it is the subject of an anti-corruption investigation in the US relating to its activities in Iraq

In its latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company said:

As previously disclosed, in the US, in October 2017, AstraZeneca and certain other pharmaceutical and/or medical device companies were named as defendants in a complaint filed in federal court in the District of Columbia by US nationals (or their estates, survivors, or heirs) who were killed or wounded in Iraq between 2005 and 2009 (the Lawsuit).

“The plaintiffs allege that the defendants violated the US Anti-Terrorism Act and various state laws by selling pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

“In addition, AstraZeneca has received an inquiry from the US Department of Justice in connection with an anti-corruption investigation relating to activities in Iraq, including interactions with the Iraqi government and certain of the same matters alleged in the Lawsuit.

(Source: AstraZeneca)