30 May 2020
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Iraq: Political Forces in Nineveh Trade Corruption Accusations

Tuesday, 07 May 2019 20:22
Members of the Iraqi Civil Defense rescue team lift a ferry which sank in the Tigris River with a crane in Mosul, Iraq March, 23, 2019. (Reuters) Members of the Iraqi Civil Defense rescue team lift a ferry which sank in the Tigris River with a crane in Mosul, Iraq March, 23, 2019. (Reuters)

Political forces in Nineveh continued to exchange corruption and bribery accusations, despite being close to agreeing on a new governor for the governorate to replace Noufal Akkoub.

Akkoub was dismissed by parliament on charges of corruption after the deadly Mosul ferry sinking that killed dozens of people in March.

Nineveh MP Mansour al-Mareed, of al-Ataa coalition led by Faleh al-Fayyad, accused Axis Coalition MP Falah Hassan Zeidan of corruption. 

Mareed issued a statement saying that he has been trying to remove the Nineveh governor and provincial council for over a year now, but Zeidan and others have stood against him.

He accused Zeidan of pressuring the provincial council into choosing his candidate for governor.

Zeidan issued a statement to refute Mareed’s claims, accusing him of bribing corrupt figures to become Nineveh governor. He noted that Mareed paid corrupt figures over a year and a half ago to help him become governor, adding that some witnesses are prepared to testify before a parliamentary committee.

He insisted that Mareed is not fit to be a deputy or a governor.

The political conflict in Mosul over the governor's position is strange and unprecedented in the history of Nineveh and other Iraqi provinces that boast a large number of Sunni and Shiite figures.

A source informed of the Nineveh dispute revealed that the battle over the governor post began directly after Akkoub’s dismissal.

He told Asharq al-Awsat that the odd thing about the current dispute is that each party includes a wide range of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish figures. For the first time, Sunni figures from outside Nineveh, such as Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi, are involved in the elections of the governor.

The source said that according to semi-confirmed reports, one of the blocs offered $250,000 and a brand new GMC car to each member of the province in exchange for voting for its candidate.

Nineveh provincial council member Abdul Rahman al-Wakka noted that political forces will compete fiercely over the governor post.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said that Nineveh's biggest problem today is the war between political forces within the federal parliament over the post, knowing that many of these forces have no representation in the province.

He remarked that Nineveh and its council have become victims of these disputes. Rather than focusing on reconstructing the province, the issue became a battle over the governor post, more than a year after ISIS was expelled from the city.

Moreover, he noted that council member Hossam al-Abbar is the favored to be elected governor.

Former Nineveh MP Abdul Rahman al-Lweizi agreed that Abbar is the most likely candidate.

He explained that Abbar could be accepted by Halbusi, because he is seeking a candidate who is affiliated to one of his allies in Nineveh. His candidacy also pleases head of the Popular Mobilization Forces Faleh al-Fayyad, by bringing in a figure from the Islamic party and al-Ataa coalition.

Source: Asharq Al Awsat

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