Iraq’s Top Cleric Urges Crackdown on Corruption

Iraq’s Top Cleric Urges Crackdown on CorruptionIraq’s Top Cleric Urges Crackdown on Corruption

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Sistani calls for prosecution of senior officials suspected of corruption and for the return of stolen funds.

Iraq’s leading Shia cleric  has called for the prosecution of the most senior officials suspected of corruption and the return of stolen funds, Al Jazeera reported.

Ayatollah Sistani has put his authority behind a recent reform drive by Prime Minister Haider Abadi and urged him to take a stronger stance against the graft and mismanagement that have made Iraq nearly impossible to govern.

“One of the vital steps of reform is to pursue the major figures of corruption and hold them accountable, and to retrieve the stolen funds from them,” Sistani said in a Friday sermon, delivered by his aide Ahmed Al-Safi.

Abadi’s initiative, proposed last month, eliminates entire layers of government, scraps sectarian and party quotas for state positions, reopens corruption investigations and gives the premier the power to fire regional and provincial bosses.

People “have long suffered from corruption” and they want “this mission to be implemented without procrastination and delay,” said Sistani’s representative, Ahmed Al-Safi. “Quick action and real, convincing and assuring steps are needed to show that the officials are serious in implementing reforms.”