23 January 2021
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Iraqi graft investigators doubt 752 tons of missing wheat was ‘eaten by birds’

Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:52

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – When 752 tons of wheat went missing from a state grain silo in Najaf this year, the site manager claimed it had been pilfered by flocks of hungry birds. Anti-graft officials aren’t convinced. 

Iraq’s integrity commission, parliament, and provincial officials in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf have launched a probe into the alleged avian antics, which seem a little farfetched.

As the missing grain is said to be worth at least $350,000, investigators believed it was stolen by corrupt officials. 

On Thursday, Iraq’s Federal Commission of Integrity (FCOI) said its officials completed an audit of the silo’s stocks between May 4, 2019 and April 1, 2020. 

“The Office confirmed that there was a shortage in wheat material that amounted to (752 tons and 498 kg), and that its total value reached (421,120,000 IQD) [$353,744],” the commission said in a statement.  

Investigators have submitted their findings to the Najaf Investigation Court and called for legal action against those deemed responsible. 

Salam Hadi, head of the agriculture committee in the Iraqi parliament, told Rudaw on Thursday they have launched their own investigation. 

Claims that the wheat was eaten by birds simply won’t fly with MPs, he said. 

“It is not clear what happened to the wheat. The inquiry investigation has not submitted its findings yet. No one believes that the 752 tons of wheat was eaten by birds,” Hadi said. 

“We will surely carry out serious investigations and those responsible for the shortfall will be held accountable and sent to court.”

Source: RUDAW

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