Corruption


Oil Smugglers can count on Corruption in Iraq

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

Accusations are flying about oil smuggling in Iraq’s Ninevah province, and many accusers say government officials, armed factions and other powerful parties are involved.

Representatives of the province, including parliament member Ahmed al-Jubouri, have said recently that oil is being smuggled from the Ninevah wells.

That news coincided with Osama al-Nujaifi, head of the Iraqi Decision Coalition, telling the media Feb. 1, “Security forces sent out military vehicles to halt the smuggling operations, but armed parties controlling the wells stood in the way.”

Click here to read the full story.

Petrofac Exec admits Bribes Paid to Win Iraq Contracts

In connection with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO)’s ongoing investigation into Petrofac Limited and its subsidiaries (“Petrofac”), on 6 February 2019 David Lufkin, 51, a British national, and previously Global Head of Sales for Petrofac International Limited, pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to eleven counts of bribery, contrary to sections 1(1) and 1(2) of the Bribery Act 2010.

These offences relate to the making of corrupt offers to influence the award of contracts to Petrofac worth in excess of USD $730 million in Iraq and in excess of USD $3.5 billion in Saudi Arabia.

The charges included the following:

Payments of approximately USD $2.2 million were ultimately made by Petrofac to two agents in respect of a USD $329.7 million Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) contract on the Badra oilfield in Iraq (the “Badra Phase One EPC contract”) awarded to Petrofac in February 2012.

Corrupt offers of payments were also made to an agent to influence the award of contract variations to the Badra Phase One EPC contract, and for the extension of the Badra Operations and Maintenance (“O&M”) contract.  Petrofac was unsuccessful in obtaining these contracts and no payments were made to the agent.

  • Fao [Faw] Terminal, Iraq

Payments of approximately USD $4 million were ultimately made by Petrofac to an agent in respect of an O&M contract on the Fao Terminal project in Iraq (the “Fao Terminal O&M contract”).  The Fao Terminal O&M contract, awarded to Petrofac in August 2012, together with yearly extensions awarded in 2013, 2014 and 2015, was worth approximately USD $400 million to Petrofac.

  • Saudi Arabia

Payments of approximately USD $45 million were made by Petrofac to its agent in respect of the following contracts awarded to Petrofac in Saudi Arabia, between July 2012 and November 2015:

  • Payments of approximately USD $5.8 million were ultimately made by Petrofac to its agent in respect of EPC contracts for the Petro Rabigh Phase II Petrochemical Expansion Project awarded in July 2012 and worth approximately USD $463 million;
  • Payments of approximately USD $21.4 million were ultimately made by Petrofac to its agent in respect of EPC contracts for Jazan Refinery and Terminal Project awarded in December 2012 and worth approximately USD $1.7 billion; and
  • Payments of approximately USD $19.5 million were ultimately made by Petrofac to its agent in respect of the EPC contract for a sulphur recovery plant as part of the Fadhili Gas Plant Project awarded in November 2015 and worth approximately USD $1.56 billion.

Corrupt offers of payments were also made to its agent for the award of other contracts at the time. Petrofac was unsuccessful in obtaining these contracts and no payments were made to its agent.

David Lufkin will be sentenced at a later date.

The SFO’s investigation into Petrofac’s use of agents in multiple jurisdictions, including Iraq and Saudi Arabia, is ongoing.

Individuals with information potentially relevant to this investigation are encouraged to contact the SFO through our secure and confidential reporting channelWhen providing information please quote ‘Petrofac Investigation’.  Please note that it would be of particular assistance if you could provide your contact details for any further queries or questions that we may have.

(Source: UK SFO)

Iraq Gains one place Transparency Ranking

By John Lee.

Transparency International has said that Iraq’s ranking has risen one place in its global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

From a total of 180 countries, Iraq came in at number 168; last year’s position was 169 out of 180 countries.

This result puts it on equal ranking with Venezuela, behind countries such as Chad, Congo and Angola, and just ahead of Burundi and Libya.

Denmark beat New Zealand to first place, with Somalia in last place.

Iran was ranked in 138th place.

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.

More here.

Iraq Gains one place Transparency Ranking

By John Lee.

Transparency International has said that Iraq’s ranking has risen one place in its global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

From a total of 180 countries, Iraq came in at number 168; last year’s position was 169 out of 180 countries.

This result puts it on equal ranking with Venezuela, behind countries such as Chad, Congo and Angola, and just ahead of Burundi and Libya.

Denmark beat New Zealand to first place, with Somalia in last place.

Iran was ranked in 138th place.

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.

More here.

Iraq activates Supreme Anti-Corruption Council

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

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has restructured the Supreme Anti-Corruption Council founded by his predecessor Haider al-Abadi in October 2015.

Abdul Mahdi said Jan. 9 that he would make every effort to allow the council to play a successful role. On Dec. 31, he said he wanted to re-establish the council in order to “take deterrent measures, unite the regulators’ efforts, address corruption and protect public funds.”

The council’s re-establishment comes after last year’s issuance of a report by Transparency International that ranked Iraq ranked 169th out of 180 countries in terms of corruption.

Click here to read the full story.

PM orders Investigation into Appointment at Civil Aviation Authority

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (pictured) has called for an investigation into the appointment of a deputy director general to the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), citing allegation that the appointment was made under threat.

In a statement the Prime Minister said.

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi ordered to conduct an investigation on information indicating the issuance of an administrative order by the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority to appoint a person in the position of Deputy Director General of the Authority under threat and intimidation, to consider the administrative procedure related to the position of the Deputy of the Chairman of the Authority frozen and inoperable, and the previous contexts shall continue to work until the completion of the investigation and the confirmation.

“His Excellency called for taking the necessary measures and imposing the most severe penalties on anyone who uses the threat or uses his powers to compel citizens or state institutions to carry out actions contrary to law and order.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

KRG PM Barzani receives Lebanese Delegation

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil, Minister of State for Combating Corruption Nicolas Tueni, and their accompanying delegation.

In the meeting, also attended by Kurdistan Regional Government ministers and senior officials, they discussed the political situation in Iraq including the post-election process, and the formation of the new Iraqi government and new Kurdistan Regional Government cabinet.

Minister Bassil thanked the Kurdistan Regional Government for its assistance and support to the Lebanese community. He emphasized the desire of Lebanon to strengthen relations with the Kurdistan Region, especially in the fields of investment, trade, tourism and culture.

Prime Minister Barzani reaffirmed the KRG’s support to Lebanese businessmen and investors. He praised the activities of the Lebanese community in the Kurdistan Region.

The political situation in the wider region was also discussed.

(Source: KRG)

Former Trade Minister sentenced for Corruption

By John Lee.

A former Minister for Trade and two former State Directors of the Ministry have been sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison for corruption.

A statement from Iraq’s Commission of Integrity said the three committed offenses in two contracts between the State Company for Trading Grain and a company supplying basmati rice, with “damage to public money in the two contracts” of $14.3 million.

Middle East Online names the former minister as Malas Abdulkarim al-Kasnazani [Mlas Mohammed Al-Kasanzan] (pictured), who was dismissed from Haider al-Abadi’s cabinet in 2015.

(Sources: Commission of Integrity, Middle East Online)

Prison for Bribery in Iraq War Contracts

A former business partner of a U.S. military contractor was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his role in a years-long scheme to bribe U.S. Army contracting officials stationed at a U.S. military base in Kuwait during the Iraq War.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office made the announcement.

Finbar Charles, 62, a citizen of Saint Lucia most recently residing in Baguio City, Philippines, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre of the Northern District of Alabama.  Chief Judge Bowdre also ordered Charles to forfeit $228,558 in illicit gains.  Charles pleaded guilty in July 2018 to one count of bribery of a federal official.

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Charles was a business partner of a former U.S. military contractor, Terry Hall.  As Hall’s business partner, Charles admitted that he facilitated Hall and others in providing millions of dollars in bribes in approximately 2005 to 2007 to various U.S. Army officials in exchange for preferential treatment for Hall’s companies in connection with Department of Defense (DOD) contracts to deliver bottled water and construct security fencing to support U.S. troops stationed in Kuwait and Iraq.

As part of his role in this criminal conspiracy, Charles admitted that he managed bank accounts in Kuwait and the Philippines that he used to receive Department of Defense payments and transfer illegal bribes to various U.S. Army contracting officials, including Majors Eddie Pressley, James Momon, and Chris Murray.

All of those individuals, as well as at least 10 other coconspirators, have pleaded guilty or been convicted of crimes relating to this scheme.  Charles admitted that he falsified loan and consulting agreements to conceal the true nature of the bribe payments to the Army officers, and that he personally received over $228,000 in illicit gains as a result of his participation.

This case was investigated by the DCIS, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the FBI and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Peter N. Halpern and Robert J. Heberle of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

(Source: US Dept of Justice)

Iraq Recovers Property “Unlawfully Sold” to Politician’s Wife

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has retaken ownership of a property in Baghdad, after it said it was unlawfully sold to “the wife of a senior official in the previous [Abadi] government“.

The Commission of Integrity said in a statement that “the property was sold by the official to his wife in violation to the legal controls stipulated in the Law of Sale and Rent of State Properties No. 32 of 1986, and without conducting a public bid.

The official was not publicly identified.

(Source: Commission of Integrity)