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Majority In Parliament Asks For Financial Disclosure By Nominated Ministers

Mahmoud Sadeghi is an Iranian lawyer, jurist, academic and reformist politician who is currently a member of the Parliament of Iran.
Mahmoud Sadeghi is an Iranian lawyer, jurist, academic and reformist politician who is currently a member of the Parliament of Iran.

More than half of the members of Iranian parliament have appealed to President Hassan Rouhani for detailed and precise financial disclosures by his new ministers.

Last week, Rouhani proposed his new cabinet ministers to parliament for confirmation. Parliament has a few weeks to either accept or reject individual candidates.

However, according to Islamic Republic's constitution, ministers make financial disclosures to the justice department, after they are confirmed by parliament.

Now, 167 MPs are asking the president to urge his ministers and their immediate family members to make disclosures to the legislature, as it reviews the proposed candidates.

The request makes clear that the information will not be made public and will be seen only by members of parliament.

On Saturday, Tehran MP and the head of parliament’s Economic Transparency Faction, Mahmoud Sadeghi had written a letter to President Hassan Rouhani calling upon him to provide a list of his nominated ministers’ assets before MPs vote to approve them.

“As transparency in government officials’ finances would increase public confidence and prevent possible abuse of national resources,” said Sadeghi in his letter, “I urge you to call upon your ministers to deliver a precise report on their financial situation as well as that of their spouses and children to parliament”.

The appeal by a majority in parliament comes at a time when several members of former President Ahmadinejad’s administration, including him, are accused of what has been labelled as “astronomical embezzlement”, bribery and corruption.

Indictments are prepared to prosecute former two-term president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the judiciary has recently announced.

Furthermore, on January 21 2015, Iran's Supreme Court sentenced his first deputy Mohammad Reza Rahimi to five years in prison and fined him 10 billion rials (roughly $300,000) for bribing politicins. Rahimi was also ordered to pay a compensation equivalent to 28.5 billion rials ($870,000).

Based on Article 142 of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constitution, financial assets of the Supreme Leader, the president and his deputies, ministers and their spouses and children must be checked and reviewed by the judiciary before and after they assume office.

But there have been high-level corruption allegations against other officials.

On February 3, 2013, Ahmadinejad, while still president, played a video tape in parliamentary session that tied the heads of two branches of the regime, Ali and Sadegh Larijanis, speaker of the parliament and head of the judiciary, respectively, to a documented financial corruption case related to their brother, Fazel.

Screening of the video, led to the exchange of bitter words between Ali Larijani and Ahmadinejad. However, the judiciary has not investigated the case so far.

According to international organizations, the Islamic Republic is among the countries where corruption is rife.

The Islamic Republic ranked 131 out of 176 countries, and scored 29 out of 100 in Transparency International 2016 report.

Transparency International explains, “The lower-ranked countries in our index are plagued by untrustworthy and badly functioning public institutions like the police and judiciary. Even where anti-corruption laws are on the books, in practice they're often skirted or ignored. People frequently face situations of bribery and extortion, rely on basic services that have been undermined by the misappropriation of funds, and confront official indifference when seeking redress from authorities that are on the take.”