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 KBC demands investigation over deputy Iraqi PM's oil smuggling accusations

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KBC demands investigation over deputy Iraqi PM's oil smuggling accusations  12.4.2012  

Mohsin al-Saadoun, Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) Vice President. Photo Reuters See Related Links
April 12, 2012

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', The Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) in the Iraqi Council of Representatives called on Thursday for an in-depth investigation into Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al-Shahristani's accusations that the Kurdistan Region smuggles oil.

KBC Vice President Mohsen al-Saadoun said Shahristani's statements are not based on real evidence and were made at a time when the deputy PM is responsible for wasting Iraq's money.

"Committees were formed to investigate Shahristani's direct responsibility for the fake contracts with the electric companies and Iraq's loss of billions of dollars in addition to the disruption of electricity for infrastructure in Iraq, while he is accusing Kurdistan and escalating the disputes between Baghdad and Erbil."

Shahristani heads the Mustaqillon (Independents) bloc, which belongs to the State of Law Coalition (SLC) led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Shahristani held the post of oil minister in the previous government and managed the Electricity Ministry after its former minister Rash Shallal was sacked.

"The draft oil and gas law was agreed upon between the governments of Baghdad and Erbil since 2007 and the law was supposed to be legislated and sent to the Council of Representatives," added Saadoun.

"But the federal government sent this law to the State Council and changed the legal context using words that do not agree with the agreement achieved in the Council of Ministers in a way that gives more centralism to the federal government in the management of oil and this led to the objection on the draft."

The Kurdistan region decided to stop all of its oil exports at the beginning of this month in protest against Baghdad's non-payment of the dues owed to foreign oil companies operating in the region.

The Kurdistan Regional Government called on the federal government last Thursday to form a joint committee between Erbil and Baghdad to investigate the mutual accusations between the two sides about the smuggling of Iraqi oil.

The call came after the Shahristani accused Kurdistan of smuggling oil to Iran and Turkey. This was denied by politicians and officials in the region.

By Hiba Ali

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