Baghdad, Jan. 31 (AKnews) – A legal adviser to the Iraqi government said on Monday that administratively linking the Iraqi Central Bank (ICB) to the government won’t affect the economic policy of the country and won’t impede the unblocking of Iraqi funds.
Fadel Mohammed told AKnews that the Federal Court ruling that administratively links the bank to the government is based on constitutional Articles 102 and 103 and has already been applied to a number of independent bodies.
The Federal Court issued on January 18 a ruling that links a number of independent bodies to the chairmanship of the Council of Ministers and not to the chairmanship of the parliament in response to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s request to interpret the constitutional article concerning independent bodies.
The adviser of the Iraqi Central Bank (ICB) warned on Sunday of the repercussions of the Federal Court’s recent ruling saying it will expose Iraqi funds to risks.
Muzher Mohammed Saleh told AKnews that the international financial environment is risky and instead of referring the Central Bank to a judicial power, there is need to make diversity in the management of foreign financial reserves in the countries to escape any legal proceedings affecting the debt of the Iraqi government that are protected under resolution 1483 of the international security council.
But Government advisor Fadel Mohammed says that the ICB’s objection is “not objective” and that “the Constitution is clear and explicit in this case in order to regulate the monetary policy and financial resources of the country”.
Although recognizing the lack of an immediate risk, Saleh however believes that the consequences of the ruling are yet to be felt.
“Since 2003, the central bank has been able to provides a secure umbrella for $50bn to meet its local and international capital needs”, he said stressing that “the danger lies in the expiration of international protection next June, and we must think of protecting the assets of Iraq under the ICB only.”
“The money of the central bank is not the money of the federal government but is a security cover for the national currency and for the Iraqi people … If the opposite happened according to the recent decision and the money of the central bank became governmental, then it would be under risk.”
Many parties warn that the Bank will loose its independence and become subjected to political pressures like the rest of the independent bodies covered by the latest court decision, but the federal court’s rulings are conclusive and can not be contested.
The bill’s opponents say that it reflects the desire of the Prime Minister to control the independent bodies, without paying attention to the risks involved in the acquisition of greater powers.
A number of political lists, most prominently the Iraqiya List and the Kurdistan Blocs Coalition (KBC) object to the idea of linking the independent bodies to the Council of Ministers, and consider it an excessive move by the ruling National Coalition (NC).
The bodies that the federal court ruling put under the jurisdiction of Maliki’s cabinet include the Supreme Commission of Human Rights, the Independent Higher Electoral Commission (IHEC), the Integrity Commission, the Iraqi Central Bank, the Financial Inspection Office and the Media and Communications committee.
Opponents of the ruling say that in fact it contravenes both articles 103 and 104 of the Iraqi constitution’s chapter IV which clearly state that these bodies are financially and administratively independent and subject to the supervision of parliament which regulates their work according to the law.
Al-Iraqiya MP Karim Hattab told AKnews that the court’s ruling is ambiguous and raises questions as the law and the constitution clearly state that these bodies are connected to parliament, adding that linking them to the Council of Ministers seriously compromises their independence.
Al-Iraqiya spokesman Haidar al-Mullah told AKnews last week that the Federal Court’s January 18 ruling effectively puts the parliamentary committees under the jurisdiction of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, describing this as a “coup against the constitution”.
“Violating the autonomy of the independent boards will mark the end of democracy in the country,” he warned.
Mullah went on to challenge the constitutionality of the court by pointing out that it was formed by the former civil administrator Paul Bremer and not by parliament itself.
“It is time for parliament to activate Article 92 of the Iraqi constitution, which demarcates the Federal Court, the nature of its work and the terms of its references.”