Iraq’s former trade minister wanted on a corruption charge was detained Saturday at the Baghdad airport after attempting to leave the country, a senior lawmaker said.
The plane carrying Abdul-Falah al-Sudani was ordered back to Baghdad during its flight to Dubai so that an arrest warrant charging him with corruption could be served, said Sabah al-Saedi, the chairman of the parliamentary integrity committee.
The arrest comes in the midst of a government crackdown on corruption. So far hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued since the beginning of the year against officials — including 51 in high-level positions.
Al-Sudani is charged with of mismanaging the ministry by importing expired foods, engaging in illegal contracts and employing relatives, said Judge Rahim al-Ogaili, the head of the Commission on Public Integrity.
Al-Sudani, a member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa party, resigned shortly after appearing before parliament earlier this month to answer allegations of corruption.
The minister’s brothers are accused of having skimmed millions of dollars in kickbacks on food imports. One of them is in custody after attempting to flee the country while the other is still at large.
The case became a national spectacle after a video surfaced on YouTube purportedly showing al-Sudani’s two brothers drinking and partying with scantily clad women.
The news of the arrest also comes after al-Maliki said earlier this week that he would not defend any official in his party accused of corruption.
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