Ghost workers probably in some ministries could be said to be a long thing in existence. But what about “ghost soldiers” in the army?
Well, there are just everywhere as the reports from Iraq has just confirmed. The prime Minister Haider al-Abadi have revealed in a statement on Sunday, that the military had uncovered the existence of 50,000 “ghost soldiers”
The prime minister promised a crackdown on corruption, regretting that an equivalent of almost four full army division funds has been going down the drain to non-existing soldiers.
This was discovered during the physical headcount in the latest salary payment process.
An officer said that they are two kinds of “fadhaiyin” using a word that literally means “space men” to refer to the fictitious soldiers crowding the payroll.
“The first kind: each officer is allowed, for example, five guards. He’ll keep two, send three home and pocket their salary or an agreed percentage,” he told AFP.
“Then the second and bigger group is at the brigade level. A brigade commander usually has 30, 40 or more soldiers who stay at home or don’t exist,” the officer said.
“The problem is that he too, to keep his job as a brigade commander, has to bribe his own hierarchical superiors with huge amounts of money,” he said.
He went further to say that for those reasons, many soldiers who were killed or defected this year across the Iraq military were rarely declared as such. For eight years that the US had occupied the country, billions of dollars has been spent training and equipping the military including the ghosts soldiers never die or defects.
Sunday’s announcement suggests that Abadi who took office in September, wants to tackle the graft and patronage that prevailed during his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki’s time in the office.