Iraq examines corrupt Serbian arms deal

May 16, 2008 at 9:13 PM

BAGHDAD, May 16 (UPI) -- An anti-corruption committee of the Iraqi Parliament Friday said it has evidence supporting corruption claims involving the Iraqi Defense Ministry and Serbia.

The New York Times reported in April that 22 high-ranking Iraqi officials brokered in 2007 an $833 million arms deal with Serbia without the knowledge of U.S. or Iraqi leaders. A coalition investigatory committee found no evidence in April to support the claim.

On Friday, committee spokeswoman Alia Nassif said subsequent investigations uncovered documents suggesting the allegations were correct, however.

"The committee is in possession of documents regarding some of the deals signed by the defense ministry. There are documents proving the ministry's involvement in financial and administrative corruption in the contracts signed with some countries," she told Voices of Iraq.

Nassif noted the Iraqi Parliament generated enough signatures in session to bring Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qadir Muhammed Jasim al-Mufraji in for questioning before the committee.

Other members, however, questioned the allegations outright. Hassan al-Sanid of the Shiite coalition United Iraqi Alliance said the deal was "concluded upon the Cabinet's approval and all the relevant legal and constitutional frameworks were respected."

"Raising such an issue without evidence, figures or documents proving dereliction would hinder the armament of the Iraqi army," said Sanid, noting the deal was "concluded upon the cabinet's approval and all the relevant legal and constitutional frameworks were respected."

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Topics: Abdul Qadir
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