Iraq's former trade minister was detained Saturday in a mounting corruption ordeal after his plane was ordered back to Baghdad while en route to the United Arab Emirates, officials said. The fight against corruption is emerging as a major issue in Iraq thus Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has vowed stern action against wrongdoers after having been criticized for years for inaction against corruption.
Abdul-Falah al-Sudani, who stepped down earlier this month after allegations of massive corruption in the Trade Ministry, was taken into custody after his commercial flight returned to Baghdad International Airport. According to the AP, officials rushed an arrest warrant to the airport as soon as they understood that al-Sudani had boarded a plane for Dubai in the UAE. The warrant was served as soon as the plane returned, according to Rahim al-Ogaili, chairman of the government's Commission on Public Integrity.
Al-Sudani, a member of al-Maliki's Dawa party, became the highest profile figure detained so far in an anti-corruption drive launched this year.