Iraqi Trade Ministry Investigated For Corruption
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
And, JJ, what is this minister, the minister of trade, accused of?
JJ SUTHERLAND: They still haven't even caught everyone who's been charged. When the police showed up at the trade ministry to arrest some people a few days ago, a gunfight actually broke out between the police and the ministry guards.
INSKEEP: Now, you say that he did these things. I suppose we should try to check the legalities of this. Has the trade minister actually been arrested, indicted, convicted, anything?
SUTHERLAND: So they vote on his expulsion next week, and then if that passes he will be liable for prosecution.
INSKEEP: How did Iraqis respond to all that televised testimony?
SUTHERLAND: And we even spoke to one guy who works for parliament. And he said he used to be ashamed of working there, because they didn't do anything. He hid his badge when he left the office. But now he says he's wearing it with pride.
INSKEEP: Well, why is it that parliament now is going after this guy whose powers appear, from what you say, to reach into almost every corner of Iraqi life?
SUTHERLAND: But as one MP told me, you can fight corruption and play politics at the same time.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
INSKEEP: Well, it's good that they're honest about it.
SUTHERLAND: Yeah, you know, I think they're very realistic.
INSKEEP: JJ, thanks very much.
INSKEEP: You're welcome, Steve.
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