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Abadi Orders Investigation Of Corruption In Iraqi Weapons Deals

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and Parliament Speaker Iraqi Salim al-Jubour (file photo)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has ordered an investigation into allegations of corruption in weapons deals amid a renewed political crisis over corruption.

The move came after Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri denied corruption charges made in parliament by Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi and broadcast on state television on August 1.

Obeidi said Jabouri and other legislators had lobbied on behalf of companies and businessmen seeking contracts to sell planes, Hummers, cars, and foodstuff to the army, or to appoint soldiers, officers, and personnel at the ministry.

After those charges came out, Abadi directed the Integrity Commission, a government body tasked with fighting corruption, to investigate.

Obeidi had been summoned to parliament to respond to allegations of graft in the Defense Ministry, which has been accused of wasting billions of dollars in public funds and weakening the armed forces to the point where they collapsed in 2014 in the face of the Islamic State threat.

"What happened today was a charade in order for the questioning not to be held," Jabouri said of Obeidi's accusations. He said he would refrain from chairing parliament until he can clear his name.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP