Are there independent, well-resourced, and effective institutions within defence and security tasked with building integrity and countering corruption?
8a. Mandate and resources
Iraq score: 50/100
There are no compliance or ethics units in place and no effort to establish them.
There is no evidence of such units, but there is evidence that the country is making proactive efforts to establish them.
Compliance and ethics units in the defence sector are in place. But there are extensive weaknesses in both staffing and funding, and expertise or their mandate is unclear.
There are identifiable compliance and ethics units within defence and security that are mandated to handle integrity and corruption in defence, but there are some weaknesses either in staffing and funding, or expertise.
There are identifiable compliance and ethics units within defence and security that are mandated to handle integrity and corruption in defence, and they are suitably staffed and funded.
Matters of integrity and corruption matters are handled by a range of national authorities and watchdog groups. The Inspectors General System was set up to undertake monitoring responsibilities, exercise oversight, and root out waste and corruption. The inspectors are placed inside Iraqi ministries, providing independent internal oversight (1). In 2013, it was reported that a total of 36 IGs have maintained regional offices (2), and are appointed directly by the prime minister, and approved by the Council of Representatives. The MoD is assigned an inspector, who reports back to the FBSA. Inspectors should work in tandem with the Federal Board of Supreme Audit (FBSA). The FBSA report suspected corruption in the GI. If the FBSA is not convinced or unable to undertake investigations into alleged corruption, the matter is referred to the Commission of Integrity. A contradiction emerges, however; as the COI does not enforce the law, but rather relies on these agencies tasked with ‘enforcement’ (2) to stamp out corruption. The FBSA’s powers were enhanced after the passing of ‘Law 31’ in 2011 (3) which advanced their mandate to investigate financial fraud. It is responsible for auditing the funds allocated to public and private agencies and whether they ought to be handling/or are eligible to receive such funds. Law 31 was also amended in 2012, after a new law, No 31, granted the GoI the right to request investigations from FBSA into specific cases (2). The PM retains the right to remove an IG based on COI recommendations.
What undermines the integrity of parliamentary decisions and accompanying legislative steps, are actions authorised by the commander-in-chief that bypass the mandates of the above-mentioned agencies. One such breach, as discussed in local press circles, seen by observers as a serious threat to the military establishment, was AAM appointment of Zaid al-Tamimi as the IG for the MoD; a former military commander of special Badr operations in Diyala province (4). The seat is viewed across the ministerial board as the “third most important within the defence establishment after the minister of defence and the chief of staff.
While new strides in the country’s anti-graft drive were made in January 2019 after Iraqi PM AAM revived Iraqi Supreme Anti-Corruption Council. The Council’s ability to root out corruption is unclear at this very early stage (5), (6). There are no successes to discuss concerning its mandate, particularly in light of delays by PM Abel Mahdi to appoint ministers of defence and interior. News searches reveal greater drive in terms of referrals made in the past two months (7). What is important to note as a closer reading of press reports indicate ‘referrals’ to the judiciary which is itself swayed by bribes and political favouritism. These reports also follow a week of unrelenting civilian-led protests calling for the fall of the government (8) which may suggest efforts to tame protests and placate demands.
Experts and politicians cited in the piece published by Al-Monitor (5) believe that the revival of another corruption-fighting body may undermine the existence of the COI and The FBSA which, by constitutional law, are the leading bodies sanctioned by the government to build integrity and combat corruption. The very move, tacitly implies that traditional outfits have fallen short of their mandate, an accusation various leaders have levelled at these anti-graft institutions. Others raise concerns about the absence of sufficient funds needed to unite the efforts of all regulatory bodies and agencies. The answer to the question of what makes this attempt any different from past attempts will become clearer with time. In spite of publicised campaigns and promises to eradicate corruption at the root, a recent report found that important questions and plans for reforming the system “was left unanswered” by the ruling class (9). The response further underscores the lack of independence from political pressures, coupled with underfunding (10) validates the score of one that was initially chosen.
1. “Iraq: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption,” Transparency International Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, 2013, https://www.u4.no/publications/iraq-overview-of-corruption-and-anti-corruption.pdf.
2. Abdullah, M.S ‘Corruption protection: fractionalization and the corruption of anti-corruption efforts in Iraq 2003’ British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 2017 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13530194.2017.1403309?journalCode=cbjm20
3. Federal Board of Supreme Audit ‘Law of the Board of Supreme Audit No. (31) of the year 2011’ https://www.fbsa.gov.iq/en/page/low_of_fbsa
4. “Adil Abdel Mahdi named a leader of the militia “crowd” inspector general of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence,” The New Arab, August 8, 2019.
5. “Iraq activates supreme anti-corruption council,” Al-Monitor, January 28, 2019, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/01/iraq-anti-corruption-supreme-council.html.
6. “Supreme council mandated to fight corruption,” Al Maalomah, February 3, 2019, https://www.almaalomah.com/2019/02/03/386882/.
7. “Iraq to prosecute 9 high-ranking officials over corruption,” Xinhuanet, October 12, 2019.
8. ASIA NEWS MONITOR ARITCLE, JULY 2018. (not on citations list)
9. “Iraq’s 2018 government formation: unpacking the friction between reform and the status-quo,” London School of Economics Middle East Centre, February 2019, http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/100099/1/Mansour_Iraq_s_2018_government_formation_2019.pdf.
10. “Iraqi factions vie for control of the Commission of Integrity: The Dawa Party Legacy,” The New Arab, November 12, 2018.
Iraq score: 0/100
The institutions/ units are under political control or they are misused. The work of the institutions can be shut down by other defence and security institutions.
The institutions/ units may be in the chain of command of the defence and security institutions that they oversee. However they can not be shut down by these institutions.
The institutions/ units are not in the chain of command of the defence and security institutions which they oversee. They report directly to a senior member of the Ministry of Defence (e.g. Chief of Staff).
Under CPA Order 57 (2007), inspector generals are charged with a legal mandate to perform and initiate investigations, including financial audits, associated procedures, across institutions of the state (1). The effectiveness of IG’s has been called into question by the Council of Ministers. A recently issued resolution called for their closure due to undermined oversight, which is necessary to achieve desired results and ultimately rests on the body’s independence. The IG is administratively linked to the respective minister, and practically speaking, to the COI and must balance the interests of both. The IG’s connection to the minister has inspired howling controversy particularly in recent years of their ability to act independently. As the previous version of this assessment underlines, the presence of inspectors within key ministries “has not been easily accepted or understood by Iraqi ministries, and they have been seen in some instances as American spies” (2). CPA order 57 remains active and the move to abolish the offices of IG’s has yet to gain parliamentary approval (1). In May 2017, the head of the COI, Yassiri argued that any potential dissolution would violate Iraq’s international obligations, “especially the … UN Convention against Corruption, which stresses the importance of forming a national anti-corruption system composed of Commission of Integrity, Inspectors General and Board of Supreme Auditing” (3).
1. “Order 57,” (2007), Coalition Provisional Authority, https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/cpa-iraq/regulations/20040212_CPAORD57.pdf.
2. “Iraq: Overview of corruption and anti-corruption,” Transparency International Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, 2013, https://www.u4.no/publications/iraq-overview-of-corruption-and-anti-corruption.pdf.
3. “Commission of Integrity refuses the call for the abolition of the Inspectors General offices and calls for their support not to stand against them,” Commission of Integrity, May 28, 2017, http://nazaha.iq/en_body.asp?id=1668.
Iraq score: 0/100
These institutions or units are not even aware of corruption risks within their institution.
Staff within the units understand the corruption risks specific to their institutions, but they fail to prepare an effective action plan with appropriate mitigation measures which address the risks.
Staff within the units understand the corruption risks specific to their institutions, but they are not able to address risks appropriately or adequately, either through their own work or by compelling others.
Staff within the units understand the corruption risks specific to their institutions, and are able to address some risks independently. But they are not able to ensure other departments address risks adequately.
Staff within the units understand the corruption risks specific to their institutions. They are able to address risks independently and to ensure that other departments or units handle risks appropriately. Actions to handle risks may include training, oversight, or policy recommendations.
The overall effectiveness of Iraq’s anti-graft bodies has been called into question. As NATO notes, “even when corruption is acknowledged as a strategic challenge” (1) “this recognition is rarely translated into specific guidelines and tools”. The magnitude of corruption signals a weakness in state function and central power, which results in a select few inconclusive investigations and unkept promises to hold the perpetrators of financial/administrative corruption to account. Iraqi political analyst Yaha al Kubaisi (2) writes the government’s ability to swiftly prosecute state agencies implicated in corruption and to recover stolen funds is undermined by officials taking advantage of loopholes within Iraq’s Amnesty Law, to evade prosecution. In Kubaisi’s assessment, an estimated 90 per cent of embezzled funds have not been recovered due to the provision (Article 5) that pardons officials found guilty of stealing state funds (3). The COI has been unable to effectively challenge the misuse of Iraq’s Amnesty Law. The mere existence of these bodies, Kubaisi argues, is not enough, as is the conventional wisdom among Iraq’s political class (2). As for the Inspectors General System, while it has survived 15 years of administrative misrule, IGs and their relevant ministries lack the trust in each other. In spite of efforts and vocal commitments, legislation and anti-corruption instruments remain weak, which has allowed rent-seeking behaviour to flourish. One source describes the anti-corruption initiatives to date, as ‘tokenistic’ which have “failed to convince Iraqis who are impatient with piecemeal, symbolic reforms” (1).
1. NATO Review Magazine ‘Corruption and conflict: hand in glove’ December 6 2018
2. “Iraq and the fight against corruption,” Middle East Monitor, April 20, 2017.
3. “Iraq’s New Amnesty Law So Full Of Loopholes, Terrorists Could Be Freed,” NIQASH, October 5, 2016.
Compare scores by country
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|Country||8a. Mandate and resources||8b. Independence||8c. Effectiveness|
|Albania||100 / 100||100 / 100||25 / 100|
|Algeria||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Angola||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Argentina||100 / 100||50 / 100||75 / 100|
|Armenia||75 / 100||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Australia||75 / 100||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Azerbaijan||25 / 100||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Bahrain||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Bangladesh||75 / 100||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Belgium||75 / 100||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||100 / 100||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Botswana||25 / 100||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Brazil||100 / 100||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Burkina Faso||50 / 100||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Cameroon||50 / 100||0 / 100||50 / 100|
|Canada||75 / 100||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Chile||50 / 100||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|China||75 / 100||0 / 100||75 / 100|
|Colombia||NEI||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Cote d'Ivoire||50 / 100||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Denmark||75 / 100||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Egypt||50 / 100||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Estonia||75 / 100||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Finland||100 / 100||50 / 100||NEI|
|France||50 / 100||50 / 100||75 / 100|
|Germany||75 / 100||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Ghana||50 / 100||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Greece||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Hungary||75 / 100||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|India||75 / 100||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Indonesia||75 / 100||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Iran||50 / 100||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Iraq||50 / 100||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Israel||75 / 100||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Italy||75 / 100||75 / 100||100 / 100|
|Japan||75 / 100||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Jordan||50 / 100||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Kenya||75 / 100||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Kosovo||75 / 100||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Kuwait||25 / 100||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Latvia||75 / 100||75 / 100||100 / 100|
|Lebanon||50 / 100||50 / 100||25 / 100|
|Lithuania||75 / 100||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Malaysia||100 / 100||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|Mali||50 / 100||NEI||0 / 100|
|Mexico||100 / 100||50 / 100||NEI|
|Montenegro||75 / 100||25 / 100||25 / 100|
|Morocco||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Myanmar||25 / 100||0 / 100||0 / 100|
|Netherlands||100 / 100||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|New Zealand||100 / 100||100 / 100||NEI|
|Niger||50 / 100||25 / 100||50 / 100|
|Nigeria||50 / 100||100 / 100||25 / 100|
|North Macedonia||75 / 100||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Norway||100 / 100||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Oman||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Palestine||50 / 100||0 / 100||25 / 100|
|Philippines||50 / 100||0 / 100||50 / 100|
|Poland||75 / 100||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Portugal||75 / 100||100 / 100||50 / 100|
|Qatar||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Russia||50 / 100||25 / 100||75 / 100|
|Saudi Arabia||25 / 100||NA||NA|
|Serbia||50 / 100||25 / 100||NEI|
|Singapore||75 / 100||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|South Africa||75 / 100||50 / 100||NEI|
|South Korea||100 / 100||75 / 100||50 / 100|
|South Sudan||0 / 100||0 / 100||NEI|
|Spain||50 / 100||NEI||50 / 100|
|Sudan||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Sweden||100 / 100||100 / 100||25 / 100|
|Switzerland||75 / 100||75 / 100||75 / 100|
|Taiwan||100 / 100||100 / 100||75 / 100|
|Tanzania||50 / 100||25 / 100||NEI|
|Thailand||100 / 100||100 / 100||25 / 100|
|Tunisia||50 / 100||50 / 100||NEI|
|Turkey||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Uganda||50 / 100||50 / 100||50 / 100|
|Ukraine||75 / 100||0 / 100||75 / 100|
|United Arab Emirates||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|United Kingdom||100 / 100||100 / 100||100 / 100|
|United States||100 / 100||25 / 100||100 / 100|
|Venezuela||0 / 100||NA||NA|
|Zimbabwe||50 / 100||100 / 100||25 / 100|