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Kurdish Kirkuk official decree is not over political stand

Kurdish Kirkuk official decree is not over political stand
Rebwar Talabani, the acting head of Kirkuk Governorate Council

  

By Surkew Mohammed

 

The charge against Rebwar Talabani, the acting head of the Kirkuk Governorate Council (KGC) is rather over "wasting public wealth and abusing public position" and not "political stand" as it has been propagated, Peregraf learnt.

 

Kurdish officials claim the issue is political, including the former president of the Kurdistan Region and current leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Masoud Barzani.

 

Kirkuk Court of Misdemeanor issued a verdict to imprison Talabani on 26 December for six months, while Talabani said he would appeal against the decree.

 

The verdict caused controversy in the Kurdistan Region, as Talabani had a firm stand for raising the Kurdish flag and including Kirkuk in the Kurdish independence referendum a year earlier. When the federal forces took over Kirkuk on 16 October 2017, Talabani left for Erbil, where he now resides.

 

Talabani's verdict

Talabani became the acting head of KGC when Hasan Toran (a Turkmen) withdrew from the position and became a parliamentarian in Baghdad. His ruling is related to an issue when he first took charge late in August 2014.

 

A source, closely monitoring the case, told Peregraf that Talabani took over spending a special budget which was in the remit of the head of KGC and asked Iraq's Ministry of Finance to allow him to do so, "However, the Ministry of Finance declined, citing that he was the acting head and he cannot spend the budget."

 

Talabani went on with the expenditure disregarding the response of the ministry, the source claimed.

 

He continued to spend the special budget in the years he was the acting head of the KGC, until Kirkuk's Integrity Commission sued him in June 2018, and the Investigation Court of Kirkuk decided to arrest him.

 

Talabani has spent more than 75m dinars, and the court asked him to return the amount in June to close the case. Although Talabani returned the amount and the case was closed, the Auditing Department of Iraq and Kirkuk Governorate Council later reopened the case, the source said, and another confirmed the information.

 

The source said, "Both Auditing department and the Council believed the spending amounts by Rebwar Talabani was to exploiting his public position, thus the case reopened in Kirkuk's Court of Misdemeanor on 26 December, as it issued a ruling."

 

Peregraf learnt that many parties had informed Talabani against spending the budget, but he refused to pay heed to their warnings.

 

The source told Peregraf, "If he did not return the amount to the government, the ruling would be two to seven years of imprisonment, and his properties would be seized."

 

Concerning the reaction of some Kurdish officials, the source said, "Those who imagine the case to be political are either mistaken or misinformed."

 

Talabani himself refused to discuss the issue with Peregraf.

 

The court decree says the lawsuit is based on a complaint by the KGC and the Iraqi Financial Auditing Department.

 

However, the decree can be appealed against.

 

Talabani is charged with the article 331 of Iraqi Penal Code, which is for any state employee who deliberately violates his/her duties, or uses his/her position for personal gains.

 

 The order against Rebwar Talabani

 

Barzani "is mistaken"

After the court decree, Barzani issued a statement in support of Talabani. He considered the case to be "completely political" and without anything to do "with the judiciary or law". Barzani said in the statement, "Rebwar Talabani stood against the violation of the constitution and the law, as the head of KGC, he defended the interest of all the components of Kirkuk city."

 

Rebwar Talabani became the acting head of the KGC with the share of his party, Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), in Kirkuk election. He had some prior charges, including a lawsuit against him by Turkmen officials, after he raised the Kurdish flag in Kirkuk on 28 March 2017.

 

KIU also considered the decree to be "political and revenge-seeking" against Talabani's "patriotic stand and services to the people of the city of Kirkuk".

 

Talabani himself followed suit. In a press conference a day after the decree, Talabani discussed his political stand, without referring to the actual financial case against him.

 

He also defended his stand to raise the Kurdish flag and his inclusion in the Kurdish independence referendum, "It was a decision of the people of the city." He added, "The decrees of the court are seeking vengeance... implementation of external agenda... and some people in Kirkuk do not want me to remain in my position."

 

He challenged the court to "find one dark stain on him" referring to any criminal or misdemeanour they might find and reiterated that the decision is political, as he is going to lodge an appeal.

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Kurdish Kirkuk official decree is not over political stand

2018-12-29 19:33:05

  

By Surkew Mohammed

 

The charge against Rebwar Talabani, the acting head of the Kirkuk Governorate Council (KGC) is rather over "wasting public wealth and abusing public position" and not "political stand" as it has been propagated, Peregraf learnt.

 

Kurdish officials claim the issue is political, including the former president of the Kurdistan Region and current leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Masoud Barzani.

 

Kirkuk Court of Misdemeanor issued a verdict to imprison Talabani on 26 December for six months, while Talabani said he would appeal against the decree.

 

The verdict caused controversy in the Kurdistan Region, as Talabani had a firm stand for raising the Kurdish flag and including Kirkuk in the Kurdish independence referendum a year earlier. When the federal forces took over Kirkuk on 16 October 2017, Talabani left for Erbil, where he now resides.

 

Talabani's verdict

Talabani became the acting head of KGC when Hasan Toran (a Turkmen) withdrew from the position and became a parliamentarian in Baghdad. His ruling is related to an issue when he first took charge late in August 2014.

 

A source, closely monitoring the case, told Peregraf that Talabani took over spending a special budget which was in the remit of the head of KGC and asked Iraq's Ministry of Finance to allow him to do so, "However, the Ministry of Finance declined, citing that he was the acting head and he cannot spend the budget."

 

Talabani went on with the expenditure disregarding the response of the ministry, the source claimed.

 

He continued to spend the special budget in the years he was the acting head of the KGC, until Kirkuk's Integrity Commission sued him in June 2018, and the Investigation Court of Kirkuk decided to arrest him.

 

Talabani has spent more than 75m dinars, and the court asked him to return the amount in June to close the case. Although Talabani returned the amount and the case was closed, the Auditing Department of Iraq and Kirkuk Governorate Council later reopened the case, the source said, and another confirmed the information.

 

The source said, "Both Auditing department and the Council believed the spending amounts by Rebwar Talabani was to exploiting his public position, thus the case reopened in Kirkuk's Court of Misdemeanor on 26 December, as it issued a ruling."

 

Peregraf learnt that many parties had informed Talabani against spending the budget, but he refused to pay heed to their warnings.

 

The source told Peregraf, "If he did not return the amount to the government, the ruling would be two to seven years of imprisonment, and his properties would be seized."

 

Concerning the reaction of some Kurdish officials, the source said, "Those who imagine the case to be political are either mistaken or misinformed."

 

Talabani himself refused to discuss the issue with Peregraf.

 

The court decree says the lawsuit is based on a complaint by the KGC and the Iraqi Financial Auditing Department.

 

However, the decree can be appealed against.

 

Talabani is charged with the article 331 of Iraqi Penal Code, which is for any state employee who deliberately violates his/her duties, or uses his/her position for personal gains.

 

 The order against Rebwar Talabani

 

Barzani "is mistaken"

After the court decree, Barzani issued a statement in support of Talabani. He considered the case to be "completely political" and without anything to do "with the judiciary or law". Barzani said in the statement, "Rebwar Talabani stood against the violation of the constitution and the law, as the head of KGC, he defended the interest of all the components of Kirkuk city."

 

Rebwar Talabani became the acting head of the KGC with the share of his party, Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), in Kirkuk election. He had some prior charges, including a lawsuit against him by Turkmen officials, after he raised the Kurdish flag in Kirkuk on 28 March 2017.

 

KIU also considered the decree to be "political and revenge-seeking" against Talabani's "patriotic stand and services to the people of the city of Kirkuk".

 

Talabani himself followed suit. In a press conference a day after the decree, Talabani discussed his political stand, without referring to the actual financial case against him.

 

He also defended his stand to raise the Kurdish flag and his inclusion in the Kurdish independence referendum, "It was a decision of the people of the city." He added, "The decrees of the court are seeking vengeance... implementation of external agenda... and some people in Kirkuk do not want me to remain in my position."

 

He challenged the court to "find one dark stain on him" referring to any criminal or misdemeanour they might find and reiterated that the decision is political, as he is going to lodge an appeal.