Iraqi judiciary clears parliament Speaker of graft charges

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Baghdad, Aug 9 (IANS) The Iraqi judiciary on Tuesday cleared parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri of charges of corruption based on allegations levelled against him earlier by the defence minister.

“The judicial panel, tasked with examining the claims of corruption against the Speaker, decided to dismiss the case against him due to the lack of evidences,” Xinhua news agency quoted judicial spokesman Abdul Sattar al-Biraqdar as saying in a statement.

Biraqdar did not say whether or not the decision included the two other lawmakers who were also accused of corruption by Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi.

The judicial panel’s decision came just a few hours after parliament voted to strip its Speaker and two lawmakers of immunity from prosecution over allegations of graft levelled against him by al-Obeidi.

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During the session, Jubouri said he wanted to prove his innocence through legal proceedings as the allegations against him were false.

It was “a big conspiracy and an attempt to disable the parliament from conducting its duty of monitoring”, he said.

Parliament also voted to lift the immunity of Mohammed al-Karboli and Talib al-Ma’mari, whose names were mentioned in the earlier corruption allegations by the minister.

On August 1, parliament summoned Obeidi to respond to allegations of huge graft in his ministry.

However, Obeidi said that officials including Speaker Salim al-Jubouri and other lawmakers had blackmailed him on weapons contracts.

Jubouri immediately denied such allegations, and told a televised news conference that Obeidi’s charges against him and other lawmakers were “baseless”.

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On August 4, the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council banned the Speaker and six other officials from travelling abroad, and formed a panel to examine the claims.



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