Erbil- Deposed Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari on Thursday threatened to publicly expose important corruption files in the country, accusing former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of orchestrating his removal from office to prepare for overthrowing the government of current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
In a press conference held in Irbil, attended by Asharq Al-Awsat, Zebari said: “We confronted corruption at all state levels and we possess big and serious corruption files that we will send to international observers.”
The deposed Iraqi minister promised to offer documents proving he and his bloc were not involved in fraud.
“What is happening aims to confuse the public opinion to cover the corruption of certain parties,” Zebari said.
He added that some might be happy to see him sacked and might explain this as a failure of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and head of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani, but they are wrong.”
Zebari is a senior leader at the KDP, which is headed by Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister Barzani. Zebari served as Iraq’s foreign minister since 2014.
He was dismissed by Parliament on Wednesday over alleged corruption and mishandling of public funds. But, Zebari had denied the accusations.
Zebari described on Thursday his questioning during the Parliament session held last month as “illegal,” adding that Parliament Speaker Saleem al-Jabouri was biased while managing the session, asking questions with a bad intention.
The deposed minister said his removal would have repercussions because it was an attempt to exclude a main party and partner from the political operation. “Our support for al-Abadi will continue,” he said.
Zebari defended himself saying: “We were behind the loans and aid offered to Iraq to support its economy during the crisis. We were capable throughout last year to recuperate $35 billion to the Iraqi Treasury. We did not spend this money as a means to save Iraq from falling in any future financial crisis.”
He said that despite all the achievements he made, Parliament decided to sack him, describing the move as “political targeting.”
Wednesday’s secret ballot saw an overwhelming majority of lawmakers vote to force Zebari from office. Member of Parliament Ammar Tuma revealed to AFP that “158 deputies voted yes to the dismissal of the finance minister, with 77 voting to reject the dismissal and 14 abstaining from the vote out of a total of 249 deputies.”
Zebari has always represented a link between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region, whose leader had called for an independence referendum to breakup with the Iraqi state and to support the formation of an independent Kurdish state. Zebari’s sacking might signal more trouble between both sides.