Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Who's Stealing Mosul's Reconstruction Money?

For the last two years, we lived through the events unfolding in Mosul by reading Najma and her family's and friends' blogs. With the media paying most attention to the miserable situation in Baghdad, Mosul -- just like Basra -- was left to deal with its own growing problems.

With the appointment of Maliki as Iraq's prime minister, Mosul has gotten some attention. AsiaNews reports:

Mosul (AsiaNews)- Nineveh, with its capital Mosul, is "a province forgotten in the new Iraq", said an Iraqi parliamentary committee. The admission came after committee members visited the region for a few days to check up on security conditions and the state of public and administrative services...

After visiting the province, the MP Usama al-Najafi, head of the committee, urged parliament to adopt urgent measures to improve the situation in Iraq's second largest city.
Everything is lacking in Mosul: water, petrol, gas and electricity. The government, according to local media, is pumping enormous sums of money into reconstruction, but the results are not in evidence. The MP Najafi admitted: "We have seen no trace of the huge sums of money said to have been appropriated for the province and could gather no idea on how they were spent;

It is essential to bring the province's budget under scrutiny."


I know this isn't very encouraging. But hey, at least the Iraqi government acknowledged THERE ARE problems in Mosul. I know Maliki's plans haven't improved the situation in Iraq. But at least he has a plan - unlike Al-Jaafari. I wasn't sure he even knew what was happening in the Green Zone.

So according to al-Najafi, Mosul's local government has received reconstruction money. Mosul bloggers and the AsiaNews state nothing much has improved in Mosul. So, either al-Najafi is lying or someone is stealing the money allocated to reconstruction projects. Considering the corruption in Basra, Mosul can't be better. It's most likely that al-Najafi is telling the truth. The question is whether Maliki's government will dig deep into this issue and hold people accountable for their mismanagement and corruption.

It's a shame that the money is being wasted/stolen when too many things could have been done to help the local people in Mosul.

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