Parliament lifts immunity from Iraqi lawmaker accused of embezzling funds

Sunday, October 8th 2006, 12:34 pm
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraq's parliament on Sunday removed immunity from a lawmaker, opening the door for prosecutors to charge him with allegedly embezzling funds intended for an armed force protecting oil pipelines in northern Iraq.

Mishan al-Jabouri, leader of a small Sunni Arab party in parliament, is accused of siphoning off some $7 million a month intended to pay for food for three units of the pipeline protection force, said Sheik Sabah al-Saadi, head of the government's Public Integrity Commission.

The three units were based north of Baghdad, part of a wider force created to guard pipelines in oil regions in the north and south from attacks by insurgents, who have repeatedly sabotaged Iraq's vital oil infrastructure, setting back efforts to rebuild the sector.

Prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for al-Jabouri, who heads the Front for Reconciliation and Liberation. But they could not implement it because of his immunity as a lawmaker.

On Saturday, parliament lifted al-Jabouri's immunity. The lawmaker was not present at the session, and his whereabouts were not immediately known.