Strengthening the Capacity of the Government of Iraq in International Cooperation, Asset Recovery, Extradition and the Initiation and Management of Litigation in Foreign Jurisdictions

Project Duration: 23/08/2011 - 22/08/2013

Total Budget: US$ 1,999,998

Donor: USA

Counterparts

The World Bank (under the StAR Initiative)

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Iraq

The National Authorities

Target Groups

The Commission of Integrity (CoI)

Investigators

Prosecutors

The Inspectors-General

The Bureau of Supreme Audit (BSA)

Judges in the Special Corruption Courts

Outline and Objectives

Iraq's development context is unique and complex, impacted by decades of violence, international sanctions and a suppressive regime, eroding its once strong development indicators. Iraq ranks 176 out of 180 countries on Transparency International's 2009 International Corruption Index, lacking the necessary systems to ensure state accountability and transparency, hence hindering civil society's inclusion in governance processes. The impact is far reaching, affecting delivery of essential services, investment in human and physical capital, and stability of the country and therefore the region, as tensions related to control of resources undermine any efforts to ensure access and proper management of those resources.

The Government of Iraq ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 17 March 2008. Initial analyses reveal that there is a need to strengthen the relevant legal and institutional anti-corruption framework as well as the related operational capacities of Iraq to effectively meet the requirements of the Convention. At the first International Anti-Corruption Conference, held in Baghdad on 17-18 March 2008, the Iraqi Government, represented by the Deputy Prime Minister and the heads of the main anti-corruption bodies, namely the Commission of Integrity, the Board of Supreme Audit, the Inspector-Generals, the Joint Anti-Corruption Council, the Parliamentary Committee on Integrity, confirmed its commitment to the effective implementation of the Convention.

While the ratification of the Convention was a major achievement for the Government of Iraq, there is a need for a comprehensive assessment in the area of asset recovery and of the extent that the current legal and institutional framework as well as the operational capacities must be strengthened.

Assessments suggest that Iraq has a robust domestic framework to enable asset restraint and confiscation that is not often used. The legislation includes provisions to freeze and confiscate assets in absentia. The framework to facilitate international cooperation to recover the proceeds of corruption appears less well developed.

Since the CoI is the principal anti-corruption body in Iraq with the mandate to prevent and fight corruption, it will be the primary target institution of this project.

The focus of this project is to provide the CoI including the newly established liaison office and other national financial institutions, with the knowledge and skills required to effectively undertake asset recovery actions in partnership with foreign jurisdictions.

The CoI is tasked to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of corruption, including cases that are being forwarded to it by the Board of Supreme Audit (BSA) and the Inspectors-General for further criminal investigation. This mandate includes undertaking criminal and civil proceedings aimed at the recovery of assets held in foreign jurisdictions.

The overall objective is that the Commission of Integrity (CoI) of Iraq and other relevant institutions initiate and respond to international requests for the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of corruption and the extradition of those involved in corruption. This will be fulfilled through:

  1. The establishment of a legal framework, of an overall operational capacity and of responsibilities in Iraq for asset recovery and international cooperation.
  2. The provision of training on asset recovery and related issues for CoI staff, including the newly established liaison office.
  3. Establishment of  the CoI as a "training institution on asset recovery" for new staff.

Key Achievements

  • Relevant legislative and regulatory frameworks analyzed for compliance with UNCAC Chapters on Asset Recovery and International Cooperation.
  • Roles of the CoI in asset recovery and international cooperation determined, including an analysis of the relationships between key institutions.
  • Institutional capacity of the CoI and other relevant institutions to undertake asset recovery and international cooperation assessed.