Questioning the minister of trade was a real big and new event for Iraqis who used to see the corrupt officials always abroad. During the last two week, the story of corruption was the main story of all Iraqis. The corruption in the Iraqi governmental departments dominated the conversations of all Iraqis. Some Iraqis started giving suggestions and solutions about fighting corruption.
Writes an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers in "One good but small step" (Inside Iraq).
The Trade Minister Abed Falah al-Sudani resigned earlier this week in order to avoid charges brought by Parliament. Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports that didn't quite work out the way he planned as al-Sudani attempted to leave Iraq by plane but the plane was ordered back "mid-flight":
When the plane landed at Baghdad's airport, Abdul Falah Sudani, the country's trade minister until he was forced to resign last week, was promptly arrested.
Sudani is charged with procuring substandard foodstuffs for Iraq's food-ration program, but the allegations against his ministry go beyond that. Omar Abdul Sattar, a member of the Iraqi parliament's anti-corruption committee, said the sums stolen could amount to "hundreds of millions of dollars."
Sly notes that in 2006, the Electiricy Minister made it out of Iraq, from a jail cell in fact, and moved on to Chicago. Rather amazing when you consider how difficult it is and was for Iraqi refugees to make it to the US. BBC adds of today's arrest: "Officials said Abdul Falah Sudani had been on a flight to the United Arab Emirates which was asked to turn back to Baghdad so he could be arrested." Nada Barkri (Washington Post) reports:
The arrest warrant accuses Sudani, a 62-year-old dual British-Iraqi national, of stealing public money and mismanaging the ministry by importing expired foods and employing his relatives, including two brothers.
Authorities have issued hundreds of arrest warrants this year, 51 of which are against senior officials, as disenchantment grows over widespread and brazen corruption thought to run into the billions of dollars. Sabah al-Sudani, the minister's brother, was arrested this month in southern Iraq after being caught with $150,000, $50,000 of which he tried to use to bribe a policeman to let him go. The other brother, Majid al-Sudani, remains at large.
Sudani's resignation came two days before he appeared before parliament to answer questions about corruption in his ministry. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki waited until after the questioning to accept the resignation.
Alsumaria notes al-Maliki has declared he will not "be a part in any sectarian electoral coalition".
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baquba roadside bombing 2 Iraqi soldiers and two wounded and 1 Sahwa member ("Awakening" and "Sons of Iraq") was shot dead in Baquba.
Mike's "Photos" last night covers the photo taking and videotaping of women in the showers at Fort Dix in 2008. Edward Colimore (Philadelphia Inquirer) reports the army is investigating and other basics.
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