Ghazwan Rafiq Awaid
Political will is considered the cornerstone for combating corruption and reducing its destructive effects on people’s lives. If we assume that this will exists, then the question is what are the mechanisms or steps that we must take in the short and long term to combat corruption in Iraq? If we want to combat corruption in Iraq in a practical way, the mechanisms of accountability must have clear results for the public, the media, and civil society in a manner that reflects the interests of the citizens and achieve their aspirations.
This paper seeks to find solutions to these questions and others from a strategic perspective to combat corruption in Iraq. It is based on an objective diagnosis presented to those who have the political will to fight corruption from the legislative authority represented by the Council of Representatives and the executive authority headed by the Council of Ministers.
First: The system of oversight
Regulatory entities in Iraq are either linked to the executive authority, the legislative branch, or they are independent but operate under the supervision of the Council of Ministers. If we take a closer look at those entities, we will find the following:
The internal auditing and oversight authorities associated with a minister or the head of a state institution not affiliated with a ministry;
The offices of the inspectors general associated with a minister or the head of an entity not affiliated with a ministry that performs inspections, auditing, investigations, and evaluations of performance. They are classified as supervisory entities which focus on the outcome, but sometimes they do prior oversight, like checking contracts before signing them. They are the entities a minster uses to supervise the ministry.
The Federal Board of Supreme Audit which answers to the Council of Representatives oversees the work of the executive branch. It is also responsible for the audit of public funds wherever it exists and the performance of the entities under its control.
The Commission of Integrity, which is an independent body explicitly mandated by the Constitution, is under the supervision of the Council of Ministers. It investigates cases of corruption under the supervision of the judiciary. It has some preventive roles in prosecuting illicit activities, and an educational role in spreading awareness of corruption, transparency, and accountability.
Provincial councils have a supervisory role on the work of the governor, the entities under its control, and the work of entities operating inside the province.