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Shadow contracts, corruption keep the lights out in Iraq

KION

By SAMYA KULLAB
Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — Electricity is a potent symbol of endemic corruption in Iraq, rooted in the country’s sectarian power-sharing system. It’s perpetuated after each election cycle: Once results are tallied, politicians jockey for appointments in a flurry of negotiations, based on the number of seats won. Ministry portfolios and state institutions are then divided among them into spheres of control. Current and former officials and contractors say that in the Electricity Ministry, this enables under-the-table payments to political elites who siphon state funds from companies contracted to improve the delivery of services. This contributes to chronic blackouts of up to 14 hours a day in a major oil-producing nation with plentiful energy resources.

Associated Press

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