Two individuals have been charged with bribery offenses in connection with Department of Defense contracts as part of the Fraud Section’s ongoing efforts to combat corruption and fraud in contracting on U.S. military installations overseas.

Mark Alan Fryday, 37, and Lara Jumaah Mohammed, 30, both residing in Erbil, Iraq, were charged in an indictment filed in the District of Columbia with one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery of a public official.

“This alleged bribery and kickback scheme sought to undermine the efforts of the Department of Defense to lawfully contract overseas,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt. “Corruption undermines our military’s readiness and affects the wellbeing of our servicemembers, and the Department of Justice will continue to work to protect our men and women in uniform from corrupt and fraudulent conduct around the world.”

“My office is committed to protecting the integrity of government contracting and in particular stamping out corruption that threatens the U.S. military and its installations abroad,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin of the District of Columbia. “This indictment, and our partnership with the Fraud Section on this case, is part of that effort.”

“Contractors who do business with the Department of Defense should take notice of these investigations. This type of egregious conduct will not be tolerated” said Stanley Newell, Special Agent in Charge for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Transnational Operations Field Office. “DCIS and its law enforcement partners remain steadfast in our commitment to defend the integrity of the Department of Defense contracting process by rooting out fraud and deceit of this sort, and ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable.”

“We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the procurement process,” said Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “This indictment sends an unmistakable message to other companies around the world – that we will be relentless in rooting out corruption at any level.”

The indictment alleges that Fryday and Mohammed offered bribes to a U.S. Army official at Erbil Air Base in Iraq. Fryday and Mohammed allegedly owned companies based in Erbil that sought contracts to supply goods and services to U.S. military forces there. In early 2020, Fryday and Mohammed allegedly offered to pay an Army contracting official a kickback equivalent to 20 percent of the value of any contract that he awarded to their companies. Fryday and Mohammed also allegedly offered an upfront cash payment in exchange for the award of a contract to supply equipment that was due to be awarded in late March 2020.

As part of the Fraud Section’s on-going efforts to combat corruption and fraud in contracting on U.S. military installations overseas, two additional individuals have been previously charged. Roy George Varkey, 56, of Kuwait City, Kuwait, was charged with two counts of bribery in an indictment filed in the District of Columbia on Dec. 19, 2019, for his role in offering bribes to an employee of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. military facility in Kuwait, in late 2019. Xavier Fernando Monroy, the former Director of Operations of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command Office in Busan, Republic of Korea, was charged by complaint on May 20, 2020 in the District of Columbia for allegedly participating in a bribery conspiracy and lying to federal investigators.

An indictment or complaint is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is the nation’s leading prosecuting authority for complex procurement fraud and corruption cases.

The investigation is being conducted by DCIS and the CID’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. Trial Attorney Michael P. McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric S. Nguyen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.

More here.

(Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

The post US Charges Two over Alleged Bribery in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Government steps up Fight Against Corruption

The arrest of six senior officials on corruption charges shows that serious steps are taken in the fight against corruption, amid calls that the government speeds up its reform program.

Click here to read the full story.

The post Iraqi Govt steps up Fight Against Corruption first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

The Cabinet held its weekly meeting on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, at which it discussed how to improve the organisation of the public sector.

The Prime Minister asked the Minister of Planning to form and lead a working group responsible for collecting data that will count the number of active state employees.

The working group, chaired by the Minister of Planning, Khaled Battal Al-Najm, will include the following members:

  • The Prime Minister’s Advisor
  • A representative of the Financial Supervision Bureau
  • Director General of the Central Bureau of Statistics
  • A representative of the Ministry of Trade
  • A representative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
  • A representative from the Ministry of Interior
  • A representative from the Ministry of Defense.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

The post Iraqi Govt to Collect Data on “Ghost Workers” first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Commission on Integrity has issued a warrants for the arrest of the governor of Kirkuk, the director of school buildings in the governorate, along with 23 employees.

The are accused of misappropriating nearly 58 billion Iraqi dinars ($49 million) in relation to a school-building programme.

The project was assigned to a foreign-based company, which is alleged to have altered the designs of the schools, which were then built using a cheaper, pre-fabricated method of construction.

Kurdistan24 names the governor as Rakan al-Jabouri.

More here and here.

(Source: Commission on Integrity, Kurdistan24)

The post m Corruption Allegation in Kirkuk first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Michael Knights, for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Kadhimi’s Rolling Reshuffle (Part 2): Protecting Iraq’s Economic Institutions and Borders

On September 14, Baghdad announced a range of strategic leadership appointments for institutions tasked with overseeing Iraq’s economy, borders, and anti-corruption efforts-a list that includes banks, customs authorities, airports, seaports, land crossings, municipal bodies, investigative committees, and more.

The ambitious scope of the appointments and the centralized manner in which they were made says a great deal about Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s commitment to changing the corrosive status quo in Baghdad.

The question now is whether his government can withstand the coming pushback from militia and political elements who benefit from that status quo. The following is a digest of the new technocratic appointments and their implications; see Part 1 of this PolicyWatch for a discussion of Kadhimi’s recent military reshuffling.

Click here to read the full article, which includes details of the new appointments.

The post Details of PM’s New Appointments to Key Institutions first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Michael Knights, for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Kadhimi’s Rolling Reshuffle (Part 2): Protecting Iraq’s Economic Institutions and Borders

On September 14, Baghdad announced a range of strategic leadership appointments for institutions tasked with overseeing Iraq’s economy, borders, and anti-corruption efforts-a list that includes banks, customs authorities, airports, seaports, land crossings, municipal bodies, investigative committees, and more.

The ambitious scope of the appointments and the centralized manner in which they were made says a great deal about Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s commitment to changing the corrosive status quo in Baghdad.

The question now is whether his government can withstand the coming pushback from militia and political elements who benefit from that status quo. The following is a digest of the new technocratic appointments and their implications; see Part 1 of this PolicyWatch for a discussion of Kadhimi’s recent military reshuffling.

Click here to read the full article, which includes details of the new appointments.

The post Details of PM’s New Appointments to Key Institutions first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Shelly Kittleson, for the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI). Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Future of International Security Assistance in Iraq

Almost three years after Iraq declared victory against the so-called Islamic State (IS), whether and to what extent foreign countries continue to assist Baghdad in maintaining security will affect geopolitical alliances, counterterrorism operations, corruption and, indirectly, numerous other issues in the country.

How new prime minister and Iraqi national intelligence service chief Mustafa Kadhimi deals with domestic demands and balances relations with the US and Iran, especially, will also determine whether progress can be made towards a state monopoly on arms during the roughly one year he is expected to remain in office prior to elections.

Click here to read the full article.

The post The Future of Intl Security Assistance in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Hayder Al Shakeri, for the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI). Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Al-Kadhimi Government and the Future of Iraq’s Protests

In October 2019, Iraqi youth took to the streets en masse to protest against government corruption and lack of essential services. The protests later developed to call for a total overhaul of the political system, including a new electoral law, early elections held under UN supervision and constitutional reform, among other issues.

The protest movement continues to persist, despite the use of indiscriminate and excessive force by the government and associated militias resulting in the killing of hundreds of protesters in addition to tens of thousands of injuries.

The demonstrations have shaken the political class, forcing changes in the political system, including the resignation of the former government, changes to the election law and the electoral process.

However, due to the limited political movements independent from the current political elite and the resistance of the current political class, it was impossible to form a short-term government that would satisfy both the protesters’ demands and the current political class.

Click here to read the full article.

The post The Al-Kadhimi Govt and the Future of Iraq’s Protests first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Women’s participation critical to ending corruption in Iraq: New forum launches today

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq has launched Iraq’s first-ever anti-corruption forum for women, highlighting the integral role women play in combating corruption in the country.

The Women Against Corruption forum brings together 35 academics and activist Iraqi women from the government, civil society and the private sector across the country to elevate the participation of women in anti-corruption measures for the socio-economic development of Iraq.

As part of its commitment to achieving gender equality under Agenda2030, UNDP supported the establishment of the forum, providing group members with technical support to identify ways to engage young women in the fight against corruption, and develop an awareness-raising campaigns targeting the general population.

The forum takes a grassroots approach, placing community at its core and actively involving individuals – men and women – in the process of fighting corruption.

“In Iraq, most anti-corruption measures focus on governmental institutions, while the role of the community, civil society and the private sector remain secondary. If the country is to succeed in its fight against corruption, it should invest in the community as a whole,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad.

“Corruption exacerbates gender inequalities. As primary caretakers of their households and communities, women experience corruption in their everyday lives. Understanding corruption at a grassroots level, from the perspective of women, and highlighting their critical role in addressing misuse of power is central to preventing and reducing corruption in Iraq,” she adds.

Prior to the forum’s launch, members undertook research that revealed the most prevalent forms of corruption in Iraq from the perspective of women. The research also revealed that the most common obstacles preventing women from reporting corruption included a lack of confidence in the party receiving the reports, and a fear of reprisals from the reporting agency.

(Source: UN)

The post Women critical to Ending Corruption in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.

From Middle East Monitor, under a Creative Commons licence. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraqi Commission of Integrity (COI) said on Tuesday it had charged 50 ministers and 480 senior ranking officials with corruption as well as recovering and preventing the wasting of more than 4 trillion Iraqi dinars ($3.3 billion) over the past two years.

COI Chairman, Mazhar Turki, told reporters that the commission is based on the principle that corruption is corruption regardless of its size, or the person involved, stressing on the need to develop and scrutinise some anti-corruption laws to meet the needs of the situation in the country.

According to the Iraqi official, in 2019, the commission issued 13,649 corruption charges against 10,000 people including 50 ministers as well as 480 senior ranking officials.

He pointed out that the commission’s investigative and audit teams have identified irregularities in 2,736 projects, noting that the teams are currently investigating 644 of them, worth more than 5 trillion dinars ($6.5 billion).

Turki said the commission gives priority to complaints regarding public services, issues that concern public opinion or threaten the economy.