Tuesday, October 11, 2005
As a result of the investigation into the misappropriation of approximately one billion United States dollars, the Iraqi government has issued warrants for the arrest of the former defense minister, Hazem Shaalan, and 27 other senior officials from the US-sponsored interim government of Iyad Allawi.
It is alleged that the missing funds were embezzled during corrupt military procurement procedures that left Iraqi defence forces with sub-standard equipment. Contracts were over-priced and cash was moved abroad to pay for the outdated equipment; this was in effect a money laundering scheme.
Many of those wanted in connection with the embezzlement are believed to have fled the country; Iraqi officials are seeking assistance from Interpol to track down suspects. The ex-defense minister is believed to be in Jordan; the Iraqi government met on Monday with the intention to strip Shaalan of the immunity he is afforded as a Legislator. This action failed as the parliament did not have a quorum.
== Related News ==
"U.S. poll numbers sink on Iraq" — Wikinews, October 11, 2005"Iraq on verge of civil war, head of Arab league fears" — Wikinews, October 8, 2005
== Sources ==
"Iraq orders 'corruption' arrests" — BBC News Online, October 11, 2005Qassim Abdul-Zahra. "Iraq seeks arrest of former officials over missing defense funds" — The Boston Globe, October 11, 2005