A United Nations project to rehabilitate 502 houses in Shingal (Sinjar) district, a disputed territory in Ninewa province, which were damaged during the war with the Islamic State (IS) group has sparked accusations of corruption between the two separate administrations of the district: One appointed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the other by the Iraqi federal government.
Waysi Naiyif, head of the Shingal district council told KirkukNow that “for each house the illegitimate administration of Shingal had received US$ 3000 for rehabilitation work but only half of the money have been spent for the project, and they took the rest for themselves.”
Waysi is member of the KRG-appointed administration led by district commissioner Mahma Khalil from the KDP who has fled Shingal since the October 16, 2017 events and is currently based in the Kurdistan Region.
Waysi said that one of the houses belonged to him indicating that “only US$ 1500 was spent for its rehabilitation.”
According to a UN statement, a total of 1,064 houses were rehabilitated in Shingal with funds from the Government of Germany over a two-year period leading to the return of more than 13 thousand displaced Ezidis.
However, Waysi Nayif says that “95% of Shingal’s population are still in displaced in Duhok and have not returned”, adding that work on the project has been brought to a halt and will not resume as long as what he called “the current illegitimate administration” is running the district.
Fahad Hamid, the Iraqi government-appointed district commissioner of Shingal who took office after Iraqi forces retook control of the territories disputed between Baghdad and Erbil in October 2017 strongly denied the accusations noting that “work on the project is being carried out in a transparent way.”
He stressed that rehabilitation projects will continue indicating that they have urged the return of many people who were in the IDP camps in Duhok, Mount Shingal or Syria.
Hamid added that a US organization plans to rehabilitate more that one thousand more houses in the area which will cost between US$ (50,000-10,000) for each house.
Dawud Jundi, member of Ninewa provincial council, speaking to KirkukNow, said, “I don’t know what are these accusations based on. The head of the district council is in Duhok, and he hasn’t visited Shingal to inquire about the project. The amount spent for each house might not be US$ 3,000, but that doesn’t mean there has been corruption.”
He explained that the costs of the rehabilitation for each house depend on the size of the damage inflicted on the house.
The Ezidi population was subjected to numerous atrocities at the hands of IS militants which overran the town in August 2014. Shingal was retaken from IS in November 2015.
According to statistics by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s directorate of Ezidi affairs, out of 550,000 in Iraq, an estimated 360,000The Ezidis fled their homes; from which 100,000 sought refuge outside the country.