Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Malaki reportedly has fired the country's electricity minister over the signing of $1.7 billion in deals with phantom Canadian and German companies.
Iraqi parliamentary deputy Alia Naseef says Electricity Minister Raad Shalal was fired after an examination of recent contracts by the ninistry revealed deals involving nonexistent companies.
Naseef says a large number of officials in the ministry also allegedly were involved in the deals.
There was no immediate reaction available from Shalal to the reports.
Electricity cuts are frequent in Iraq, especially in the summer, forcing many to rely on private generators to get power.
Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated last summer and earlier this year in protest at recurrent power outages in Baghdad.
compiled from agency reports