Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 16:46 UK

Iraq to arrest 1,000 'corrupt' officials

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki
PM Nouri Maliki belatedly accepted his trade minister's offer to resign

Iraq's anti-corruption watchdog says arrest warrants have been issued for some 1,000 allegedly corrupt officials.

Few details were disclosed, but the Commission on Public Integrity said at least 50 were senior figures.

The commission has previously said the most serious complaints concern the trade ministry, where officials allegedly took bribes for contracts.

This week Prime Minister Nouri Maliki accepted the resignation of his trade minister over corruption accusations.

The former minister - Abdul Falah Sudani, one of whose brothers has been detained for corruption and who has another brother on the run - offered his resignation on 14 May and parliament has been scrutinising his case.

A vote of no confidence had been due to take place on Thursday but was cancelled after Mr Sudani's resignation. Mr Sudani - who denies any wrongdoing - could now face criminal charges.

The anti-corruption committee statement said there were as many as 997 arrest warrants against officials under suspicion and 53 were at director-general level or above.

The statement added that 51 officials had been arrested in April and 69 were arrested in May, including 33 last Sunday.

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