Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

For First Time in 14 Years, High-Ranking Iraqi Official Sentenced to Prison | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi security forces. (AFP)

Baghdad – A Baghdad court sentenced on Sunday a former governor of the Salaheddine province to jail, the first such ruling against a high-ranking official since 2003.

Ahmed Abdullah al-Jabouri was sentenced to three years in prison on corruption charges.

This is the first such verdict since the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 as the majority of sentences against senior state officials have not been implemented because most of them have fled the country.

Jabouri faces charges of seizing state property and registering them in the name of a private company before later selling them for his own personal gain. He also made personal gain from projects aimed at repaving the roads in Salaheddine.

A source from the province told Asharq Al-Awsat that the land seized by Jabouri previously belonged to the sons of late ruler Saddam Hussein. He did not have any legal document to prove his ownership of the property.

It added that the convicted former governor enjoys the support of neighboring countries, including Iran. Jabouri had even asked for its help in his legal battle, but he failed. Furthermore, it revealed that there are dozens of other corruption cases against him and he will likely be convicted in them.

In addition, the source predicted that Jabouri’s associates in the province will soon attempt to cover their tracks and his financial and administrative violations.

MP Mashaan al-Jabouri described the governor as one of Iraq’s most dangerous figures. The lawmaker had presented to the judiciary the majority of the files that led to his conviction.

The Jabour clan is one in the most influential in Salaheddine, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein. Due to the sour ties with Saddam’s al-Baijat clan, the Jabours sought to reach a deal with US forces over governing the province. The Jabours were also the first to propose the formation of the “Sahwat” forces as part of the conflict with the al-Qaeda organization in 2006.

The government of former Premier Nuri al-Maliki had turned a blind eye to the corruption in Salaheddine due to the good ties he enjoyed with Governor Jabouri and members of the local council.