by S-Q @ 7:24 AM MDT
© 2007 Stephen Pitt
Amazingly enough, the Iraqi constitution even allows Cabinet ministers to block investigations into corruption, which they have done. What a shining example of democracy.
Iraq's top corruption fighter said Wednesday that $8 billion in government money was wasted or stolen over the past three years and claimed he was threatened with death after opening an investigation into scores of Oil Ministry employees.
In the chaos and lawlessness of Iraq, such threats are not taken lightly. Radi al-Radhi, who runs the Public Integrity Commission, leads one of the more dangerous missions in the country. He said in an interview that 20 members of the organization have been murdered since it began its work.
In perhaps the most publicized recent case, an estimated $2 billion disappeared from funds to rebuild the electricity infrastructure.
Former Electricity Minister Ayham al-Samaraie, who holds both U.S. and Iraqi citizenship, was convicted in that case and sentenced to two years in prison. He escaped from an Iraqi-run jail in the Green Zone on Dec. 17 and turned up in Chicago on Jan. 15. Al-Samaraie has said the Americans helped him escape.