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Ali is an economist and political analyst, working at a private UK-based company. He worked previously at the World Health Organisation and has an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS. You can follow him on Twitter (@alialsaffar).

MPs’ expenses…it gets worse!

I wrote a post a couple of weeks back about MPs expenses in Iraq, and after a little snooping, I have some solid figures to name and shame some of parliaments worst truants, this is thanks to a quite enlightened drive by Iyyad al-Samarrai, the speaker of the Council of Representatives, to draw up a register of attendees for every session. I was looking to calculate how much each of the worst offenders gets paid per session they attend…and the results aren’t pretty, but were a hell of a lot easier to calculate than I had expected.

The CoR runs on a term basis, with each year being split into three (I believe). There are a total of around 25 sessions in each term.  Now, according to parliament’s website, in the first 3 months of this past legislative year, 4 members did not attend a single session, these were: Ayyad Allawi, Ibrahim al-Jaffari, Jammal Ja’afar Mohammed and Mohammed Katouf Mansour (The same four names stick out like a soar thumb in every single record released on the website.) What I wanted to do, initially, was to divide the monthly take-home salary by the number of sessions attended, to find out how much they are paid for each session, but the budding mathematicians among you will realise that dividing a number by 0 doesn’t always work so well.

So, if we work on the assumption that there were 25 sessions held every four months, and the take-home salary was as reported, a conscientious MP should have been paid US$1,728 per session, however :

  • Falah al-Naqib was paid US$3,323 per session he attended in that same term;
  • Mithal Alousi and Ayyad Jamal al-Deen were both paid US$4,800 per session;
  • Saleh al-Mutlaq was paid US$6,171 per session;
  • And Ayyad Allawi, Ibrahim al-Jaffari, Jammal Ja’afar Mohammed and Mohammed Katouf Mansour were all paid US$43,200  for attending no sessions.

Now, I am not arguing that a parliamentarians’ worth is in their attendance records, but I really do believe that our members of parliament, the people the Iraqi voter has placed their trust in to represent them, should be doing just that…in parliament!


I should say, my methodology isn’t air-tight but the assumptions I have made are logical ones. I would be happy to amend if people have different information (on salary or the length of each parliamentary term).

4 Comments on “MPs’ expenses…it gets worse!”

  1. Ali Latif May 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    It’s a reflection of how they view the democratic system I guess but I’m just surprised that there is no mechanism to at least stop the pay for MPs who have attended less than a certain number of sessions.

    I guess removal will be a legal and constitutional problem so they can only be voted out. Then again the paradox is that some of the MPs who haven’t attended a single session got very many votes in this election.

  2. Mohammed Abdullah May 7, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    Whether your figures are accurate or not (I have no reason to doubt them), I’m glad that someone is at least talking about this. Thanks for bringing it up.

  3. Anonymous September 28, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    Ayad Allawi donates his salary to the poor, and his cousin who’s also an MP doesn’t even receive his. And to tell you the truth, personally, I’d happily pay Allawi not to go mix with these monkeys in that zoo.

    • Ali Rashid September 28, 2010 at 7:06 am #

      I was actually told this after I wrote this blog a while back. Good for them, I hope they set a precedent.

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