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Lawmakers To Question Iraqi Officials On Corruption

Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani

Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi parliament deputies say the upcoming questioning of Trade Minister Abdulfalah al-Sudani on corruption charges is only the beginning of other such hearings by parliament, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Hussam al-Azzawi, the chairman of parliament's Members Affairs and Parliamentary Development Committee, said al-Sudani will be questioned on May 24.

He said Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani will be the second minister to face questioning by parliament on corruption issues and that electoral commission members will also go before a parliamentary committee to testify about possible corruption.

Al-Azzawi stressed that the questioning of public servants does not necessarily implicate them in wrongdoing.

Kurdish bloc member Muhsin al-Sadun, who is on the parliament's Legal Committee, told RFI that summoning ministers and other officials is a healthy sign that is at the heart of the legislature's functions.

Al-Sadun added that penalties will be announced for officials who have abused their offices.

Sunni Accordance bloc member Hussein al-Falluji told RFI that there is pressure for parliament to stop questioning officials about corruption. But he expects the practice will gain greater acceptance if the process with al-Sudani proves to be in the public interest.