Iraq’s next battle: corruption
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Iraq’s next battle: corruption

Iraq’s former industry minister, Mohammed Alderajy, is brutally honest about the country’s culture of corruption and resistance to reform. The banking sector is far from immune. He says a new attitude is needed if Iraq is to improve its prospects for reconstruction.

Mohammed Alderajy, former member of parliament for Baghdad

At an early July conference in London aimed at promoting investment in Iraq, Mohammed Alderajy stood before a roomful of businessmen and public officials from Iraq and the UK. 

Much had been said in the preceding talks about Iraq’s famously systemic corruption: investors were afraid their money would go toward paying bribes and that, because of nepotism, unfit individuals would be put in charge of projects they had funded.

Alderajy, a two-time Iraqi minister and former member of parliament for Baghdad, wanted to address that issue. 

“We hear [that] every time we attend conferences about corruption,” he said. “I’m not denying that.”

But he added, in defence of his country’s government: “The corruption is everywhere, but at certain levels. The transparency in Iraqi media and the new democracy in Iraq allows a lot of talk about corruption. But, to be honest with you, the only country in the Middle East that publishes its oil revenue on a website is Iraq. In other countries in the region, their people don’t know what they have. Some states surrounding Iraq, it’s a one-man-show for their revenue.

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