Corruption Devours One Third of Assad Regime’s Budget

Alarabi Aljadid – May 25, 2015

The director general of the Monopoly Prevention Authority in Bashar al-Assad’s government, Anwar Ali, surprised everyone by revealing that the regime lost about 30% of its budget due to corruption and bribery. Experts interpreted this as a prelude to overthrow some ministers in the government and hold them responsible for the failure in reducing economic and livelihood crises exacerbated in areas that fall under the regime’s control, leading to a more growing public anger.

Economic expert, Imad Eddin Musabeh, explained for “Al Araby Al Jadeed”, that these statements come as an agenda of an organized campaign by some regime officials. This included an earlier attack by the President of the Workers Union, Shaaban Azzouz, on the government and accusing it of corruption, in order to evade the regime’s responsibility for the collapse of economy and hold some officials responsible.

Musabeh pointed out that corruption is rooted in the successive governments for decades, and got worse recently following the dissipation of wealth and the loss of the public treasury resources. Things came to the point of begging Iran for a 1 billion dollar loan through a new credit line after the previous$ 3.5 billion line ran out.

He added that the regime’s statements about the corruption that have been lately detected devoured about one third of its budget. The corruption is related the banking sector and import operations. The 2015 budget is about 1554 billion Syrian Pounds ($ 5.2 billion).

Musabeh confirmed that Assad regime’s official did not mention the exclusive Food deals granted to the Assad family and those who are pro-regime. Neither did he mention oil sale contracts, leasing the capabilities of Syria or the arms purchase contracts from Iran and Russia, led by a few, like Mohammed Makhlouf, Bashar al-Assad’s uncle. The Director General of the Monopoly Prevention Authority of the Assad regime has claimed in a press release two days ago, that his establishment began to delve deeper into corrupt files to maintain public money. He explained that the Monopoly Prevention Authority considers the decision to allow exchange companies to finance import licenses is a wrong decision. This is due to the presence of expert entities such as public banks that are subject to monitoring that can continue its work, while it is proven through past experience with exchange companies that they are not trustworthy, and the evidence shows many of them committed violations. A financial analyst from the city of Idleb (north Syria), Ibrahim Mohammed, said that the corruption of the regime is now taking different and new forms and methods following the outbreak of the revolution four years ago. These methods went beyond the traditional methods; form the manipulation of procurement processes and giving away of tenders and government auctions, to the selling of assets and the wealth of Syria. The corruption also included selling the houses of the displaced, oil, gas, minerals, ruins and even human organs. Syria had a ranking among the most corrupted countries on the regional and international level, where it ranked 159 worldwide and fifth among Arab countries, according to Transparency International report last year, which emphasized that corruption has taken many forms in light of the ongoing war in the country, poor oversight and lack of transparency in government entities.

(This article is translated from Arabic)

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