Anti-corruption protesters occupy the Iraqi Parliament after breaking into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone compound in 2016. AFP/ HAIDAR MOHAMMED
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With billions of dollars in state money flowing into phantom projects used as vehicles for embezzlement, Iraq ranked as the 11th most corrupt country in the world in Transparency International's 2016 corruption perception index.But Abadi's fight against corruption is "still in the realm of theory" at this stage, according to Iraqi analyst Hisham al-Hashemi.That is equivalent to three times the annual budget and more than Iraq's GDP.Analysts say such massive corruption helps explain why Iraq is sorely lacking in infrastructure and industrial or agricultural development.A prominent Basra businessman later alleged in a television interview that Nasrawi had taken a 15 percent cut on every contract – 5 percent for his party and 10 percent for himself.Higher Judicial Council spokesperson Abdel-Sattar Bayraqdar slammed a law which provides for the release of corrupt officials if they agree to return the money they embezzled, arguing that profits from stolen funds remain out of the state's reach.
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