In­tegrity Board faces chal­lenges to re­veal of­fi­cial as­sets

Kur­dish In­tegrity Board warns the of­fi­cials to re­veal their wealth, if not, they will face trial and le­gal ac­tions.

The Kurdish Globe - - OPINION - By | Salih Wal­ad­bagi

The Kur­dish In­tegrity Board has said that many Kur­dish of­fi­cials and lead­ers have not re­turned the dec­la­ra­tion forms yet to re­veal their as­sets and wealth.

The Board has warned the of­fi­cials that it will bring the vi­o­la­tors to jus­tice in case they do not re­turn the forms soon.

Ac­cord­ing to the Board, the of­fi­cials from the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dency, mem­bers of Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment and of­fi­cials from the state in­sti­tu­tions have not yet re­turned the forms.

An of­fi­cial who wished to re­main anony­mous said that the start was so “poor” which means that the of­fi­cials ig­nored the of­fi­cial re­quests of the Board. They ap­par­ently broke the rules be­cause they re­jected to re­veal their as­sets to the pub­lic.

He fur­ther stated that it should not be al­lowed to paral­yse the Board, adding that not re­turn­ing the forms is a huge vi­o­la­tion of the reg­u­la­tions.

The Kur­dish In­tegrity Board is di­rectly linked to the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment, and it has to oblige the of­fi­cials to obey the rules and re­veal their for­tune.

At a press con­fer­ence in Er­bil, cap­i­tal of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion of Iraq, Head of the In­tegrity Board Ahmed An­war an­nounced, fol­low­ing three months, the dead­line to re­turn the forms is over. He fur­ther an­nounced that the first ring has been hit.

An­war re­vealed the num­ber of the of­fi­cials who re­turned the dec­la­ra­tion forms and re­vealed their fi­nan­cial as­sets. He also warned those who have not yet re­turned the forms that they will be fined.

The in­tegrity law does not ex­clude or ex­empt any of­fi­cial or state in­sti­tu­tion.

An­war said: “Out of 1080 forms, around 874 forms have been thus far re­turned. And out of 111 MPs, some 86 mem­bers have filled in the forms and re­turned them.”

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics of the Board, at least 31 ad­vi­sors, out of 56, in the Par­lia­ment re­turned the forms. “The Ju­di­cial Coun­cil Mem­bers have sent back all the forms they had re­ceived to de­clare their as­sets,” the Board con­firmed.

It is worth men­tion­ing that out of 80 forms which sent out to the Kur­dis­tan Pres­i­dency, none of them has been re­turned yet.

The board started dis­tribut­ing the forms at the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary and it took the Board around 20 days to give them out. Hence, the board will be wait­ing un­til 20 May to re­ceive all the forms be­cause the of­fi­cials are al­lowed to fill in the forms any time dur­ing this pe­riod.

Head of the Board, An­war, asked all the of­fi­cials to re­turn the forms soon, other­wise they will be fi­nan­cially pun­ished, which is not more than IQD 3,000,000.

Ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tions, those who do not re­turn the dec­la­ra­tion forms would be re­minded first. In case they do not send them back, then they would be fined. If they show re­luc­tance to re­spond to the pro­ce­dures then their su­pe­ri­ors would be ad­mon­ished to sus­pend the vi­o­la­tors from their jobs. The last step, ac­cord­ing to the Board, would be to bring them to jus­tice if they still re­ject to com­ply.

Re­gard­ing the forms sent out to the Kur­dis­tan Pres­i­dency, An­war said : “They re­ceived the forms a bit later.”

The of­fi­cials in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG), in­clud­ing the Prime Min­is­ter and his Deputy to­gether with the min­is­ters and of­fi­cials within the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters did not re­ceive the forms be­cause when they were dis­trib­uted in Fe­bru­ary the Kur­dish par­ties were dis­cussing the cab­i­net for­ma­tion.

“The KRG of­fi­cials will re­ceive the forms when the cab­i­net is formed,” said An­war.

Cor­rup­tion is still one of the most sig­nif­i­cant snags in the talks be­tween all the Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal par­ties prior to the for­ma­tion of the new KRG cab­i­net.

Al­most all the Kur­dish par­ties will fo­cus on de­creas­ing cor­rup­tion. This is ex­pected to be­come a hot topic in the next four years of the cab­i­net, which might be the first pow­er­shar­ing govern­ment since the first Kur­dish cab­i­net in 1992.

The next four years might be­come a nightmare for the cor­rupt of­fi­cials be­cause the Board is keen on ac­ti­vat­ing the law that hope­fully will trap the wrong­do­ers.

De­spite the Board's im­ple­men­ta­tion of the law, the MPs main­tain that the in­tegrity law has to be amended.

"The law has to be amended," says a Kur­dis­tan Is­lamic Union MP, "es­pe­cially the pro­vi­sion which is re­lated to the fi­nan­cial pun­ish­ment for those who do not re­turn the forms."

“The law is needed to be amended to heav­ily pun­ish the of­fi­cials who do not re­turn the forms to the Board be­cause the cur­rent fine of one to three mil­lion Iraqi di­nars are not that much for some­one who owns lots of prop­er­ties and wealth,” said the KIU MP.

The MPs added that re­turn­ing the form is not enough to re­veal the wealth of an of­fi­cials. The Board has to launch a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion to cor­rob­o­rate the in­for­ma­tion dis­closed in the forms.

The MPs ask the of­fi­cials in all the three Kur­dish power cen­tres , in­clud­ing the KRG Pres­i­dency, the Par­lia­ment and the Re­gional Pres­i­dency to re­veal their as­sets be­fore any other au­thor­i­ties.

Un­til now, hun­dreds of the se­nior of­fi­cials have thus far re­turned the forms. How­ever, the Board might face lots of chal­lenges ahead due to its poor per­for­mance in the in­cep­tion of the cam­paign. The fact is ag­gra­vated by the lack of co­op­er­a­tion of some gov­ern­men­tal of­fi­cials.

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