The Central Organization for Financial Control of the Syrian regime has disclosed a significant increase in financial corruption rates within government departments and ministries. The corruption rates have skyrocketed by 400% in just one year.
According to an official report released by the agency for the fiscal year 2022, over 104 billion Syrian pounds (equivalent to $13.7 million) have been discovered in corruption issues. However, only seven billion Syrian pounds were recovered.
Who are the most corrupt ministries?
Over the past year, 213 inspection reports were completed across 20 ministries, with the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection leading with 21 corruption cases and an amount of approximately 42 billion Syrian pounds. The Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources followed with eight cases, totalling over 32 billion Syrian pounds. The Ministry of Local Administration and Environment had the highest number of corruption cases, with 23 cases and over 284 million Syrian pounds to be recovered.
It’s worth noting that the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice each investigated three corruption cases. The Financial Audit Authority revealed that the total amount of corruption was 88 billion Syrian pounds, and only 2 billion Syrian pounds were recovered.
The amounts discovered and required to be recovered in foreign currency were 1.687 million dollars, 250,000 euros, and 10,000 Chinese yuan, but only 21,000 dollars of these funds were recovered.
In 2022, the Central Agency’s investigations extended to the financial and administrative sectors in regime-controlled areas. The agency supervised 1,013 public entities of an economic nature, including 243 main entities such as institutions, companies, and establishments.
According to the report, financial corruption cases within the economic public sector amounted to over 9.4 billion Syrian pounds, of which 3.6 billion Syrian pounds were recovered.
The city of Lattakia emerged as the most corrupt economically and administratively, with a total amount of 2.7 billion Syrian pounds (equivalent to about 361,000 dollars) discovered in corruption cases, followed by Aleppo with approximately 1 billion Syrian pounds.
The report also highlighted the foreign exchange funds that needed to be recovered in the same sector, specifically in the city of Lattakia. The amount totalled $783,000, but only $21,000 was recovered. Additionally, an amount of 89,000 euros was identified, but none of it was recovered.
In the administrative sector, the report covered corruption issues of 2,357 public entities, with 1,544 reports completed and issued. The reports revealed that over six billion Syrian pounds were required to be recovered, of which 1.6 billion Syrian pounds were recovered.
In terms of administrative corruption, the city of Lattakia once again topped the list with a total amount of 3.1 billion Syrian pounds (equivalent to about 419,000 dollars) discovered in corruption cases.
The report also revealed the foreign exchange funds that needed to be recovered in the administrative sector, with the majority located in Lattakia. The amount totalled $161,000, 656,000 euros, and ten thousand Chinese yuan.
According to the annual report by Transparency International, which monitors the state of transparency and corruption in 180 countries around the world, Syria maintained its penultimate rank on the Global Corruption Index for 2022.
In a previous report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Center for Constitutional Transitions at the end of 2022, growing frustration over corruption in Syria was cited as one of the underlying causes of the 2011 Syrian revolution. Bashar al-Assad, like his father Hafez al-Assad, relied on a tight system of family patronage and interest groups to buy loyalty, which has now expanded to include the “new wealthy” militia emirs.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.