Finance committee member says over $800 million in KRG oil revenue missing since July 15

Finance committee member says over $800 million in KRG oil revenue missing since July 15
6 years ago

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SULAIMANI – The Kurdistan Parliament’s Finance and Economic Affairs Committee alleges that oil-revenue funds have been missing from the Kurdistan Region’s finance ministry’s account since July 15, amounting to over $800 million.

Committee deputy Ali Hama Salih told NRT on Sunday that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has yet to deposit the funds into the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) finance ministry bank account.

“The money should have been deposited in the Finance and Economic Ministry account since July 15, $200 million for each week, but the money hasn’t been deposited yet,” Salih said. 

Salih called on President Masoud Barzani and KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani to launch a serious investigation into the missing money.

According a letter obtained by NRT dated July 9, 2015 and signed by Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister gave Finance and Economy Minister Rebaz Mohamad Abdulla authority to deal directly with Halkbank in Turkey, where funds from oil exports in Ceyhan are deposited.

“Please be advised that effective from July 9, 2015 Mr. Rebaz Mohamad Abdulla, the KRG Finance Minister shall be sole signatory for transferring funds out of the KRG’s accounts,” the letter stated.

The letter further stated that MNR Minister Ashti Hawrami would continue to be authorized “to direct all the oil sales proceeds and any other related oil revenues” to the Kurdistan governments accounts with Halkbank.

The MNR released a statement on August 2, saying the Kurdistan Region had lost up to $250 million in potential oil revenue as a result of “repeated attempted thefts and sabotage attacks on the pipelines that carry crude oil from the Kurdistan Region to Ceyhan in Turkey,” which it said began on July 27.

A follow-up MNR statement issued Tuesday said continual attacks on the pipeline between July 1 and August 17 have resulted in an additional $251 million in revenue losses, bringing the total to $501 million.

Salih, however, insists the missing funds are not related to the reported break in productivity of the Kurdistan-Ceyhan pipeline.

Finance ministry spokesman Ahmed Abdulrahman told NRT on Wednesday that revenue from oil exports through Ceyhan have not been deposited into the government’s Halkbank accounts.

Abdulrahman said the ministry has only received $75 million of an expected $850 million in revenue since July 15.

(NRT)

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Editor's note: This story was originally posted on August 18, 2015 under the title, 'Over $800 million in KRG oil revenue missing since July 15'. It has been updated to include information from a Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) statement released the same day, as well as information from various other sources.