Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Iraq to stop paying legislators extra money for security, will assign police instead

Above: People evacuate the scene as 2 legislators are killed in a bombing inside the building which houses the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad's heavily fortified 'green zone' in April.

The Iraqi government has decided to stop paying a monthly allowance so that parliament members can hire their own security and instead provide each of them with up to 20 policemen for protection, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Tuesday.

The measure appears to be a step to control spending. Lawmakers had been receiving 10 million dinars (US$8,000) a month to pay for up to 20 guards. A guard earned an average of 500,000 dinars (US$400) a month.

Some legislators who live in the Green Zone had been hiring fewer guards and pocketing the rest of the allowance.

Al-Dabbagh said there could be exceptions for key legislators who live outside the Green Zone.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune