More than $60 million in public funds were embezzled by Mosul officials close to the province's sacked governor in the wake of last month's ferry sinking, Iraqi officials said Monday (April 22nd).
Iraq's anti-corruption Integrity Commission said officials from Ninawa province had embezzled a total of $64 million in public funds, AFP reported.
They included nearly $40 million set aside to rebuild the city, which was ravaged by three years of “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) rule followed by months of fierce fighting to oust the extremist group.
The money was stolen in the aftermath of a tragic ferry sinking in March that left more than 100 people dead and prompted parliament to unanimously fire governor Nawfel Akoub, who has since gone on the run.
In its Monday statement, the Integrity Commission said officials "close to Akoub" had stolen the funds but did not accuse him personally.
It said 14 officials were detained earlier this month after its probe found that "cheques and wire transfers of public funds had been made out to the personal accounts of senior officials".
Of the missing money, "just $6 million" was recovered by the government, a commission member said.
Parliament had been investigating accusations of profound corruption among Ninawa officials, and their results came to light amid outrage over the ferry sinking.
Some officials have been arrested but Akoub remains at large, thought to be hiding out in Erbil.