UN Says to Help Iraq Tackle Rampant Corruption

Smoke rises after an attack at Bai Hassan oil station in Iraq. A United Nations agency said on Thursday it would help Iraq to tackle endemic graft that is eroding its economy and institutions as Baghdad struggles to defeat Daesh militants. July 31, 2016. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed

BAGHDAD, Aug 11 – A United Nations agency said on Thursday it would help Iraq to tackle endemic graft that is eroding its economy and institutions as Baghdad struggles to defeat Daesh militants.

The U.N. Development Program will recruit international investigators to mentor and train Iraqi government auditors tasked with corruption investigations, it said in a statement released after a signing ceremony with the Iraqi government.

Oil-rich Iraq ranks 161st out of 168 nations in Transparency International’s Corruption Index.

Thirteen years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the country still suffers a shortage of electricity, water, schools and hospitals, while existing facilities and infrastructure suffer widespread neglect.

Health Minister Adila Hamoud offered to resign on Wednesday after 13 premature babies were killed in a fire at a hospital in Baghdad, amid accusations of negligence and lack of maintenance at government healthcare facilities.

Graft has exacerbated the effects on the economy of a sharp decline in oil revenue caused by falling crude prices and the costs of fighting Daesh, which has controlled large parts of northern and western Iraq since 2014.

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