A lapse of judgment al-Sabah semi-official newspaper had done was met with a wave of angry responses by Iraqi officials linked to the news published in its Sunday issue.
Al-Sabah newspaper reported on Sunday Head of the Commission of Integrity Hassan al-Yassri saying the President’s three deputies: Nouri al-Maliki, Ayad al-Allawi, and Osama al-Nujaifi had been referred to the court for “illegitimate earnings.”
Al-Sabah's editor in chief Abbas Abboud, who interviewed head of the Commission of Integrity, apologized for the news later saying it was a "misprint" and the newspaper mentioned the deputies' names by mistake. However, that didn't bring down the anger and condemnation statements.
Islamic Dawa Party, ruled by Nouri al-Maliki, who is also head of the State Law bloc, strongly condemned the news describing it as a "foolishness and a lie". The party issued a statement saying that the newspaper fabricated Yassri's quotation, which is a violation.
Head of the al-Mutahidoon bloc, Osama al-Nujaifi considered the news to politically target the deputies. Nujaifi issued a statement saying this is an "irresponsible act that reveals weakness and unprofessionalism." He called for holding those responsible for spreading such rumors accountable.
Commission of Integrity also denied the allegations and said that the news about the three deputies was misquoted, adding that Yassri was referring to the issue of "illegitimate earnings" of 2015/2016. Back then, the issue was related to former deputies of the prime minister and not the president.
Meanwhile, Head of Kurdish Commission of Integrity Ahmed Anwar confirmed in a press conference that the commission "looks forward to coordinating and cooperating with Iraq's commission to combat the scourge in Kurdistan as well."
Recent Iraqi government measures to trace smuggled funds and bringing to justice officials responsible of corruption had encouraged Kurdish parliamentary blocs, including Movement of Change in the Iraqi parliament, to submit several drafts and proposals for the inclusion of Kurdistan region within the procedures.
Change bloc MP Amin Bakr, stated the bloc prepared a draft in this regard in 2015 and submitted it to the parliament, which formed a follow-up committee headed by Deputy Speaker Hammam Hamoudi. The proposal was never completed because of coalitions and disagreements.
"The draft calls for the formation of a special body tasked with a comprehensive audit of the region's accounts. The investigation also includes accounts of senior officials in Iraq and Kurdistan on the issue of illicit enrichment and other corruption cases related to oil and investments," said the MP.
For his part, head of Kurdish Integrity Commission, Ahmed Anwar said that the region is part of the federal system in Iraq according to the constitution, however, the region has its own independent judicial and legal and administrations.
"The federal government cannot intervene in the region's affairs claiming it is fighting corruption, however, we welcome the federal government's measures in this regard, and we are happy we have been able to recover some of the money smuggled abroad," concluded Anwar, adding: "We hope the Iraqi government's campaign encourages the launch of similar ones here in Kurdistan."