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Cablegate: Anti-Corruption Update for September 18

VZCZCXRO9086
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2520/01 2611315
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181315Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4755
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002520

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KCOR KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: ANTI-CORRUPTION UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 18

REF: A. BAGHDAD 2313
B. BAGHDAD 1401
C. BAGHDAD 1161

SUMMARY
--------

1. (SBU) GOI anti-corruption officials finalized a new
anti-corruption strategy at an UN-organized gathering and
plan to unveil it in October; they expressed appreciation for
USG as well as UN assistance in devising the strategy,
focused on achieving compliance with the UN Convention
Against Corruption. Iraq's lead anti-corruption agency, the
Commission on Integrity (COI), has mounted an active public
relations campaign, with COI head Judge Raheem Al-Ugaili
announcing, inter alia, the COI's submission of 500
corruption cases to the judiciary so far this year and
providing an update on GOI officials' submission of financial
disclosure reports. The COI recently issued its first-ever
"black list" of public employees who allegedly submitted
fraudulent educational and other documents to obtain their
jobs. END SUMMARY.

FINALIZATION OF THE GOI'S ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGY
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (SBU) Ref A contained an update on Iraqis' efforts, with
UN assistance under an ACCO-financed project, to prepare a
new national anti-corruption strategy to replace the 18-point
plan issued by the GOI in January 2008. Subsequently, during
September 7-10, UNDP/UNODC officials hosted meetings in Amman
of Iraqi anti-corruption officials to put the final touches
on the strategy. The event culminated in a gathering,
chaired by the head of the GOI's Joint Anti-Corruption
Council (JACC), Ali Alaq, who gave his endorsement to the
finalized version, which is focused on Iraq's achieving
compliance with the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
Besides Alaq, who also serves as Secretary General of the
Council of Ministers and is Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki's
point-person on anti-corruption efforts, the head of the
Commission on Integrity (COI), Judge Raheem, played a
prominent role in the proceedings.

3. (SBU) The event culminated in Alaq's announcement that the
GOI would formally release the new strategy in October. He
acknowledged, though, that some specifics of the strategy's
implementation plan had yet to be fully elaborated and would
be released later. In side conversations with ACCO reps in
attendance, both Alaq and Raheem praised the UNDP/UNODC
officials involved in the months-long process of formulating
the strategy, asserting that their guidance and expertise had
been crucial. (NOTE: UNDP/UNODC officials' assistance began
in earnest in January, when they organized the first of an
ongoing series of workshops and other events to orient Iraqi
anti-corruption officials to the UNCAC requirements and
assist them in identifying reforms required for Iraq's
existing anti-corruption regime in order to fulfill those
requirements. END NOTE) Alaq and Judge Raheem also made a
point of expressing appreciation for the USG support that had
made possible the UNDP/UNODC project.

4. (SBU) A detailed report on the strategy follows via septel.


PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFENSIVE BY THE COI
-------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The COI has been active of late on the public
relations front, with Raheem issuing an array of media
statements on his organization's achievements and other
issues. Among his utterances, he announced earlier this
month that the COI had submitted 500 corruption cases to the
judiciary so far in 2009, compared to 398 over all of last
year. (COMMENT: Per Ref B, our sources had previously
reported stepped-up activity by the COI this year, compared
to 2008, in terms of the number of persons arrested and
prosecuted on corruption charges. We also note, per ref C,
Qprosecuted on corruption charges. We also note, per ref C,
the judiciary's recent claim that it had received 445
corruption cases since the beginning of 2009 and that this
represented an increase over 2008. However, in comparing
figures for 2008-09, we note that many corruption-related and
other criminal cases in 2008 were not prosecuted as the
defendants benefitted from the February 2008 Amnesty Law. END
COMMENT).

6. (SBU) Providing an update on the submission of financial
disclosure reports required of senior officials at national
and provincial levels, Raheem told the media that only 35
percent of parliamentarians (Council of Representatives) had
filed reports, while all Ministers as well as the President
and his two Vice Presidents had done so. He went on to cite

BAGHDAD 00002520 002 OF 002


two provincial governors, those of Al-Anbar and Ninewa, for
failure to submit the reports. (COMMENT: As previously
reported -- Ref B -- the legal requirement for senior members
of all branches of government to submit the annual financial
disclosure statements has been widely ignored in the past.
The parliamentarians' spotty record notwithstanding, our
sense is that overall the number of officials submitting
statements for 2008 has substantially increased over prior
years. END COMMENT)


7. (SBU) The COI, in an effort to demonstrate vigilance over
the honesty of public officials, issued this week its first
ever "black list" of public employees who were hired based on
educational and other documents that COI determined were
forged. In releasing its "black list," the COI said that it
had evidence that at least 100 individuals working at the
Journalism Faculty at Baghdad University had gotten their
jobs based on submission of false credentials. All names
were listed on COI's website. The story received wide
coverage in the local media.

HILL

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