By Pooya Stone
More than $4.8 billion went missing from Iranian government funds in 2018, according to the Supreme Audit Court, which indicates massive corruption by the mullahs.
The report, read yesterday in the parliament, showed that while $31.4 billion allocated to import goods, there were no goods listed for over $4.8 billion of the fund.
Adel Azar, the Head of the Supreme Audit Court, told the Parliament that a separate “confidential” report for Iran’s National Development Fund and Oil Fund would be supplied to the Speaker.
This report, which was supposed to be delivered in January but was delayed because of the coronavirus, also cited corruption by government officials and people who received funds at government currency rates more favorable than the open market. This shows embezzlement of government funds by many government’s elites, including 32 who received over $100 million each to import goods and 31 who received $50-$100 million each.
It further showed that 241 of the executives received salaries and benefits over the allowable limit of “23 million and 583 thousand tomans per month”, working out to a complete overspend of 11.3 billion tomans. For comparison, Iranian workers earn around 1.8 million tomans a month.
The Budget Report also noted that the officials failed to transfer government-owned companies to Iran’s private sector, with 77% of the transfers only ensuring the “transfer of the ownership of the company from the government to the private sector”, with no actual transfers taking place.
Numerous companies have actually gone bankrupt after being transferred to the public sector, which resulted in hundreds of protests by workers who rightfully complain that they did not get their wages or that they were laid off altogether.
Of course, despite all this evidence, only 15 embezzlers had their legal cases sent to the prosecutor’s office, according to the Court of Audit, with few being seen as a “priority”.
Iranian officials have claimed that they have no funds to help the people during the coronavirus epidemic, which has so far killed 28,000 in Iran, but this report proves that the government has the money; they just want it for themselves.
The Budget Report shows that the corruption of state elites is institutionalized and legal in Iran. After all, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has assets worth an estimated $200 billion in tax-exempt bonyads that are not overseen by any other government body.