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Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:53 am
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Mosul seethes as corruption hinders reconstruction
By Hunar Ahmed
yesterday at 11:14
MOSUL, Iraq – Almost two years since Mosul was retaken from the Islamic State group (ISIS), residents are still struggling to rebuild their lives. The theft of federal funds committed to support the reconstruction effort has left many fending for themselves.
Iraq’s Integrity Commission reported last month that around $64 million in federal reconstruction funds had been embezzled from provincial coffers by the former governor of Nineveh Nawfal Hamadi and other officials.
In its April 22 report, the commission found 76 billion IQD had been illegally deposited into personal accounts or kept in safes. Although the money has been recovered, the funds remain frozen until investigations are complete.
Hamid Salim, a local of the devastated Old City, says corruption has done more harm to Mosul than ISIS.
“Iraq is a country of whales whose thirst cannot be quenched. If they give us a camel, maybe just the tail might reach us, or maybe not,” Salim told Rudaw.
Vast areas of the city still lie in ruins after the US-led coalition and Iraqi forces concluded a ferocious operation in 2017 to dislodge the jihadists, who seized Mosul in summer 2014.
“They don’t rebuild the city or allow the people to work. There’s no employment for someone who wants to work to make some money to build a house and his future,” said Salim, examining the carnage.
“It’s been two years since the war is over and we suffered losses. We haven’t seen anything. They only gave us some food supplies two or three times,” he said.
Salim believes there are still explosive remnants and up to 1,500 bodies trapped under the rubble.
“This place is full of dead bodies and planted bombs,” he said. “This place hasn’t been searched well.”
Ayman Subhi, another resident of the Old City, says he doesn’t expect to receive any assistance to rebuild his home.
“Suppose they send $100,000 to affected people. I am sure even a quarter of this money won’t reach us. This is the truth,” Subhi told Rudaw.
And it’s not just the misappropriation of federal funds that is hindering the recovery. Mosul provincial council says at least 100 businesses in the city are owned and operated by Iraqi parties and armed groups.
Many are profiting from reconstruction by gathering and selling scrap from destroyed buildings. Others have taken over utilities and even tourist infrastructure, including local ferries – like the one which capsized in March, killing more than 100 people.
Such racketeering has stoked public anger. Local officials say they are looking into the matter.
“Regarding the businesses which have opened, we wrote an official letter to the security establishment including the commander of operations, police commander, national security and the intelligence agency. In the letter, we have asked that these centers be watched and closed,” Saydo Chato, head of Mosul provincial council, told Rudaw.
Transparency International lists Iraq as one of the world’s most corrupt countries.
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