MESOP REPORT : DON’T TALK ABOUT MONEY ! – Iraqi Kurdistan’s key ministers refuse to reveal their wealth to integrity commission

25 March 20155 – ERBIL-Hewler, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— The head of the Kurdistan Commission of Integrity, Dr. Ahmed Anwar, says that forms have been distributed to officials of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the completion of which will disclose their wealth to the commission. The head of Kurdistan’s anti-corruption committee, Anwar, told the independent Awena newspaper that only 1-2% of government officials have left to fill the fill the anti-corruption forms including two ministers of Kurdistan oil minister Ashti Hawrami from the KDP and Minister of Peshmerga Mustafa Said Qader from the Gorran (Change movement).

Despite several months passed on the deadline, Falah Mustafa, head of KRG’s Foreign Office, also didn’t fill anti-corruption forms without any explanation, said Judge Ahmad Anwar. Kurdistan’s anti-Corruption committee founded two years ago to investigate the Government official’s fortune and find out if they were involved with corruption scandals. In a statement to Basnews, Ahmed said that it is now a legal requirement for Kurdish officials to reveal their wealth by completing the commission’s questionnaire. “We started to distribute the forms in the middle of 2014, and we have received 98% of them back from Kurdish officials,” he said. “Peshmerga Minister Mustafa Sayid Qadir, Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami and officials from the KRG Foreign Relations Department haven’t returned completed formed yet.

“The Kurdistan Region President, Vice President, KRG Prime Minister and KRG Deputy Prime Minister have filled in the form. Soon we will scrutinise the information, using this sample to help us broaden the scope of our integrity enquiries in the future,” added Ahmed.

Ahmed said that the commission will start distributing its forms for 2015 at the end of next month..

Massoud Barzani and his relatives control a large number of commercial enterprises in Iraqi Kurdistan, with a gross value of several billion US dollars. The family is routinely accused of corruption and nepotism by Kurdish media as well as international observers. One of the most sensitive subjects is the Barzani’s involvement in the economy of the newly rich oil state. While Massoud Barzani’s personal wealth is estimated to be in the range of $2 billion, the exact amount of the family’s involvement is unknown due to Kurdistan’s murky legal environment and a web of offshore cross-ownership entities. Korek Telecom, owned by Sirwan Barzani, nephew of Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), was established in 2001 in Kurdistan region and has millions of customers. In 2010 and according to independent Kurdish magazine (Levin), remuneration and the monthly salary of Massoud Barzani, president of the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq’s north is $400,000 dollars per month, 4.8 million$ annually. Also on June 1, 2010 a Baghdad newspaper on uncovered the salaries of the top 10 state officials, with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani taking the lead with an annual salary of $700,000 Aswat Al Iraq website reported.