The governor of the oil city of Basra has stepped down and fled to Iran after Iraq’s anti-corruption body began investigating graft allegations against him, people close to him and officials said on Tuesday.
Iraq’s Integrity Commission on Monday evening issued a statement asking the foreign ministry in Baghdad to ask Iran to repatriate Nasrawi.
A Basra-based politician close to Nasrawi said the accusations against Nasrawi were “politically motivated” by rivals.
Oil-rich Iraq ranks 166st out of 176 nations in Transparency International’s Corruption Index.
In a separate case, Samir Kubba, the director general of Iraqi Airways, has been arrested and referred to trial on graft charges, a spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council said on Tuesday.
Judge Abdul Sattar Birqadr said he faced accusations of “bribery cases and job violations”.
Majid al-Nasrawi and the Iraqi Airways boss are the highest ranking public figures to come under investigation for alleged corruption since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was elected three years ago, partly on a pledge to fight graft.
Fourteen years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the country still suffers shortages of electricity, water, schools and hospitals, and infrastructure has been widely neglected.
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