Kurdish deputies to sue finance minister for lack of transparency

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By Fareed Hassan

Azzaman, January 4, 2013

Opposition deputies in the Kurdish regional parliament say they want to sue the region’s finance minister for lack of transparency regarding oil sales in 2011.

Kardo Mohammed, who heads the opposition parliamentary block, said the ministry has failed to convince parliament that its figures on 2011 oil sales were accurate.

“We accuse the ministry of failing to provide accurate figures on oil exports originating in the region and the royalties collected from duties on exports via border posts,” said Mohammed.

He said a lawsuit was being prepared against Finance Minister Bayez Talabani and his deputy Rashi Taher.

Mohammed said 2011 budget was not properly approved by parliament and was passed without opposition deputies ratifying it.

The semi-independent Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq includes three provinces: Dahouk, Arbil and Sulaimaniya.

The central government in Baghdad allocates 17% of oil sales revenues to the Kurdish government in the region.

But the regional government has its own sources of income mainly through taxes on imports and exports to the region as well as the sale of oil to neighboring states via fuel tankers.

The royalties from these oil sales and other sources of internal income were not accounted for in 2011 budget.

The oppositions also says there is lack of transparency on how allocations for the government itself are spent.

Mohammed gave no figures on the volume of income the region earns besides federal government allocations.

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