HEWLÊR-Erbil, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Kurdish authorities reportedly have seized some $250 million belonging to an oil “businesswoman” and wife of Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s current minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami, the Wusha newspaper reported Wednesday.
The Wusha report stated the Kurdistan Presidency formed an investigative committee to look into the dealings of Chra Rafiq, wife of Minister Ashti Hawrami, and that the money is now in a bank in the Kurdistan Region.
The unknown businesswomen Rafiq, a dual Iraqi and German citizen, has not been officially accused of having committed any crime although she reportedly left the Kurdistan Region for Turkey upon the announcement of an impending investigation.
Wusha also reported that “some officials” attempted to intervene in the matter but that the investigative committee blocked their efforts.
NRT reached out to Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) members Dilshad Shaaban and Salih Bashar from the Parliament’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for confirmation of the seizure. Both did not answer repeated calls.
In a post to his Facebook page, Change Movement (Gorran) MP and energy committee member Ali Hama Salih said he hoped for similar investigations in the future to fight corruption in the region.
Kurdistan oil minister Ashti Hawrami routinely accused of corruption by observers, Kurdish officials and local media.
Many Kurdish politicians and Observers believe that many of the oil industry projects in Iraqi Kurdistan are conducted in a non-transparent way. Some have even described them as secretive.
Read more about Corruption in Iraqi Kurdistan