Reform committee in Iraqi Kurdistan
unveils thousands of fake bodyguards
March 26, 2012
ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq',
— Karwan Salih, an MP in the Kurdish parliament,
says that more than 50,000 people are employed as
bodyguards for government officials in the Kurdistan
The Kurdistan Presidency Reform Committee (KPRC)
launched an investigation into the issue of the
large number of bodyguards last year. The initial
results show that most of the names listed do not
exist but that salaries were still paid by the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Salih, who is also a member of parliament’s Interior
Affairs Committee, says, “Sixty-seven thousand names
are listed on the KRG payroll as bodyguards. Fifty
thousand are supposedly providing security for
senior government officials.”
The KPCR report, published last week, is dedicated
in large part to the issue of the bodyguards of
senior government officials, political party
officials and well-known figures.
According to the report, some government officials
are behind the nonexistent bodyguards.
“Most of the bodyguards are only names on paper. The
salaries taken under the names of the bodyguards
mostly end up in the pockets of the senior officials
themselves,” reads the report.
A presidential decree issued last year urged the
Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of
Peshmerga to reduce the number of paid bodyguards as
part of a reform plan.
The decree stipulates that government ministers
cannot have more than six bodyguards; the parliament
speaker and prime minister can have no more than 40
bodyguards each, and their deputies can keep 20
According to the decree, the offices of the two
ruling parties -- the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)
and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) -- can
keep 25 guards each. Other political parties are not
mentioned in the decree.
Brigadier General Bachtiyar Baban, a consultant at
the Ministry of the Interior, says the decree does
not treat senior officials equally. He says the
number of bodyguards of some of the senior officials
has been reduced while other officials are allowed
to keep the same number of guards.
Regarding the hoax list of names, Baban says, “The
presidential decree leaves no room for those any
As an example, MP Salih points to the number of
guards at the main office of the Kurdistan Communist
saying, “KRG is paying for 67 guards for the KPC’s
headquarters, but in reality only a few guards are
keeping the security of their headquarters.”
Zirak Kamil, a member of the Communist Party, says
his party does not keep many guards in the first
place, so they have no need for fake names.
Salih, who has been investigating the bodyguard
scandal, says, “Some government and political party
officials use their bodyguards as laborers. The
bodyguards are used for construction work and other
similar work which is not the job of security
“This is illegal,” he adds. “Bodyguards are not to
be treated as laborers. Their job is to defend their
bosses, not to do their housework.”
Fayaq Tofiq, deputy minister of the interior, thinks
the figures given by Salih are exaggerated. However,
he refused to provide any statistics.
By Shwan Barzinji
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