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Iraq Launches Anticorruption Plan

Iraq Engl Map
Iraq Engl Map
BAGHDAD -- Iraq's anticorruption czar says the government has launched a five-year strategic plan to combat endemic corruption in the country, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Judge Abdel Rahim al-Ugaily, president of Iraq's Anticorruption Commission, told RFI that the plan is part of the UN convention against corruption, which Baghdad has signed. He said the measures are being undertaken in cooperation with the UN Development Program and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Al-Ugaily said the plan identifies 201 types of corruption in Iraq -- mainly in state bureaucracy -- and working teams have been set up to address each form according to a set timeframe with follow-up procedures to assess progress.

He said the anticorruption commission is under no illusion that corruption will be eliminated by the plan, but expects improvements to be made. He noted that Iraq's rating in the Transparency International corruption index improved for the first time in 2009, though it's still a very low 176th in the world.

Al-Ugaily said the commission is also appealing a recent Baghdad court verdict acquitting former Trade Minister Falah al-Sudani on corruption charges.

The 2010-2014 anticorruption plan is overseen by a joint council comprising the Anticorruption Commission, the Financial Audit Office, and the Inspector-General's Office.

Khalid Khidair, director of the council, told RFI that the five-year plan began by training some 250 officials and NGO activists who will teach more than 100,000 Iraqis to staff a public awareness campaign against corruption.

He added that the trainers will lecture at workshops attended by government officials and nongovernmental organizations that will teach about the legal and administrative aspects of reporting corrupt practices.

Khidair said this is the first time Iraq has seen such an anticorruption action with broad public involvement.