BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq’s former trade minister Abdel Falah al-Sudani was arrested at Baghdad airport Saturday trying to flee the country in the wake of a corruption scandal, a prominent lawmaker told AFP.
The minister was on board a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which turned back to Baghdad so the minister could be arrested, said Sabah al-Saedi, head of the Iraqi parliament’s corruption and integrity commission.
“The minister was trying to escape from justice and was headed to the UAE,” said Saedi.
“After some phone calls were made to judicial authorities and the airport, the airplane was turned back and the minister arrested,” he added.
Prime minister Nuri al-Maliki’s office on Monday announced that Sudani had resigned amid allegations of corruption and embezzlement linked to the nation’s food assistance programme.
Sudani, a member of Maliki’s Shiite Dawa faction, had already been questioned by parliament over claims relating to imports for the country’s food rationing programme.