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Corruption Forces Iraqis To Modify Benefits Program

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi government has decided to reform its social benefits programs for the disadvantaged due to increased cases of corruption and the misappropriation of public funds, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Labor and Social Issues Ministry Inspector General Hamid al-Zaydi told RFI that fraud and corruption in the distribution of state benefits is causing significant losses for the state.

He added that the authority to determine eligibility for state benefits has been transferred from Baghdad to provincial councils to make the system more transparent.

Issam Abdullatif, the social welfare director at the Labor Ministry, told RFI that a recent inspection revealed that some 80,000 people are illegally receiving social benefits.

He said the actual number may be even higher.