PUK : Corrupt politicians have caused banking crisis, says PUK leader
KURDISTAN TRIBUNE – 20.3.2013 – Three days ago, PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) politburo member Mula Bakhtiar wrote an article, for his website and newspaper Chawder, identifying the main cause of the shortage of money affecting Kurdish banks and the crisis facing the Bank of Kurdistan. He blamed corrupt politicians who have been “hiding tons of dollars in their bunkers while there is no money in the banks to pay civil servants”.
Bakhtiar asked why no politician has been arrested and taken to court for this corruption. Furthermore, he argued, Kurdistan’s financial crisis is “due to the fact that we do not have a modern plan for the economy”.
Bakhtiar was echoing criticisms which the opposition Gorran movement first raised three years ago, when it predicted that endemic corruption would damage our economy.
The next day, well-known PUK leader Kadir Hama Jan rebuked his colleague, arguing that corruption cannot be eliminated through newspaper articles and seminars. However, he did not explain how this should instead be done.
Yesterday, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) spokesman Safen Dzayee entered the fray, challenging Bakhtiar to “tell us the addresses of these bunkers where tons of dollars are hidden”. Bakhtiar did not back down. Instead he responded by writing that the KRG knows very well about the issue of corruption. He gave the example of 750 tons of expired medicine which have been sold on the Kurdish market. “How many politicians have been arrested?” he asked, arguing that some politicians are behind this illegal trade. The banking crisis has caused unprecedented open debate within and between the two ruling parties, the PUK and KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party). Another factor is the absence of Jalal Talabani, which has allowed some PUK leaders to be braver in speaking their minds and discussing issues that were once taboo.