Iraq: overview of corruption and anti-corruption

Published on 7 May 2015 as a U4 Helpdesk answer
What do studies say about corruption in Iraq over the past ten years? What are the drivers of corruption, the key areas of corruption, and both economic and political impact of corruption?


We would like to provide all country offices with a current corruption country profile to inform situation analysis.



2.Extent of corruption

3.Nature of corruption challenges

4.Sectors particularly vulnerable

5.Anti-corruption framework



This Helpdesk answer draws on a previous Helpdesk answer on Iraq. The Kurdish Region of Iraq is covered in a separate Helpdesk answer. As the new Iraqi Prime Minister’s Government Work Program is yet to be finalised, a future Helpdesk answer is needed to assess how this will affect the integrity framework of the country.


Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iraq has faced significant corruption challenges. The country continues to score among the worst countries on corruption and governance indicators. Corruption risks are exacerbated by the historical legacy of the previous authoritarian regime, lack of experience in the public administration, weak capacity to absorb the influx of aid money, sectarian issues and lack of political will for anti-corruption efforts. While Iraq has introduced a number of anti-corruption initiatives, these fail to provide a sufficiently strong integrity framework. Political interference, lack of political will, a weak civil society, a confusing penal code, and a lack of resources limit the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures. Corruption in the military and security services and oil smuggling has contributed to the major security challenge that the country now faces with the militant group Isis. 

Author(s): Coralie Pring, Transparency International,
Reviewed by: Marie Chêne, Transparency International, Finn Heinrich, PhD, Transparency International,
Publication date: 7 May 2015
Number: 3

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Country / Territory - Iraq   
Language(s) - English   
Tags - Iraq   |   country profile   

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