Botan Othman returns as head of Iraq’s Kurdistan govt IT office – despite Corruption allegations

By Salih Waladbagi, The Kurdish Globe – 3.10.2012 – ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’, — Kurdistan’s Head of Information Technology rejects all the corruption allegations directed at him. Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and KDP leader has issued an order, asking him to return to his office.

Botan Mahmud Othman, Head of Information Technology, in a public statement announced that he rejects charges alleging he is involved in a corruption case. He also added that he already sent his resignation letter to Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, asking to resign officially.

“The office offered all the necessary official documents to an investigative committee formed by the general attorney. The documents answer all the investigative questions. I published the same documents previously to public opinion. The committee investigated about financial affairs during the date I was in charge of the office. Fortunately and happily result of the investigation was positive for me and the office,” the statement read. Othman remarked that he is asking the KRG to form another committee which should be independent including experts or member of different fractions of Kurdistan Parliament to investigate the case again.

“I am ready to accept the result of the new committee,” he said. According to an official order numbered 10282 which was issued by the KRG’s Council of Ministers and signed by Nechirvan Ahmed,Director of Council, on September 18, 2012, Head of Information Technology was dismissed and Suleiman Haso Mirkhan appointed as new head. Suleiman was assigned for a short-term period until the investigations ended. In addition, Othman in his statement read that the committee did not believe his official documents and they always asked about why the projects were so “sluggish” over the past three years, adding he told the committee that budget of his office was zero over three years ago. “But the committee insisted on their questions and was not satisfied with my answers.”

However, Nechirvan Barzani, the PM, asked Othman to return to his office, describing him as “genuine” to his job. Sami Argushi, media director of the Prime Minister, said that the PM did not issue any orders to remove Mr Othman from his office. “PM believes that Othman is a genuine and honest person and encourages him to continue on his work as head of the office,” said Argushi.

In a report published on a Kurdish independent newspaper, Kurdistan’s Head of Information Technology office was accused of involvement in an alleged corruption case. Following the report the general attorney started an investigation into the case.

Noteworthy is that Botan Othman is the son of Dr. Mahmoud Othman, an Iraqi Kurdish parliamentarian, former member of the Political Bureau Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Mustafa Barzani’s Deputy dealing with foreign affairs of the revolution in the 70s. and represents the KDP and PUK- dominated Kurdistani List in Baghdad. [Mustafa Barzani is Nechirvan Barzani’s grand father].