Iraq ex-electoral chief says cleared of graft
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
BAGHDAD: Iraq's former electoral chief Faraj al-Haidari said an appeals court on Tuesday reversed a corruption conviction and one-year prison sentence against him and two other senior officials.
"We were informed by the judiciary that the federal appeals court has cancelled the verdict, and all the measures that were taken against us," Haidari told AFP.
"This is a final decision, which was issued by the highest judicial authority in the country."
Judicial spokesman Abdelsattar Bayraqdar did not respond to multiple attempts by AFP to request comment, but a diplomat with knowledge of the case confirmed Haidari's account.
Haidari and two other Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) commissioners, Karim al-Tamimi and Osama al-Ani, were sentenced on August 28, effectively barring them from public office for life as anyone convicted of a criminal offence cannot hold a civil service position in Iraq.
Verdicts against all three were reversed on Tuesday.
They were arrested in April on charges of corruption, having allegedly paid a bonus of 150,000 dinars ($130) to an employee of Iraq's state property commission in order to secure better-located government-allotted plots of land.
There is bad blood between Haidari and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law list over the aftermath of 2010 parliamentary elections, in which the premier's list came in second to the Iraqiya list of Iyad Allawi.
The State of Law list sought a vote of no confidence in Haidari on July 30, 2011, for alleged corruption, but failed because other parties opposed it. (AFP)