The Royal Court restaurant, the oil insider, and the $100,000 bribe

In Nassiriya, the arrest of an oil official highlights a kind of corruption that usually stays in the shadows of political protection networks.
Al-Diwan al-Maliky restaurant in downtown Nassiriya. (Photo credit: Mashka Omer)

NASSIRIYA - The Diwan al-Maliky in central Nassiriya advertises itself as a "VIP Restaurant and Café," serving vast platters of succulent roast chicken, flavored rice, and juicy kebab. But excess and profligacy took on a rather different form when the eatery became the backdrop to a sting operation involving an oil field licensing chief, a contractor, and a $100,000 cash bribe.

Ahmed Jabbar Abdul-Razzaq, licensing chief at the Gharraf oil field, operated by Malaysia's Petronas, is now facing at least one charge of bribery after he was caught by officers of the Iraqi National Security Service with $100,000 in cash at the restaurant, whose name means "the Royal Court" in Arabic.

This content is for registered users. Please login to continue.
If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial.
Iraq Oil Report Attribution Policy

All sources quoted or referenced spoke to Iraq Oil Report directly and exclusively, unless stated otherwise. Iraq Oil Report typically grants anonymity to sources that can't speak without risking their personal safety or job security. We only publish information from anonymous sources that we independently corroborate and are important to core elements of the story. We do not provide anonymity to sources whose purpose is to further personal or political agendas.

Iraq Oil Report Commitment to Independence

Iraq Oil Report strives to provide thoroughly vetted reporting and fair-minded analysis that enables readers to understand the dynamic events of Iraq. To meet this goal, we always seek to gather first-hand information on the ground, verify facts from multiple angles, and solicit input from every stakeholder involved in a given story.

view our independence as an integral piece of our competitive advantage. Whereas many media entities in Iraq are owned or heavily influenced by political parties, Iraq Oil Report is wholly owned by several of its employees. In a landscape that is often polarized and politicized, we are able to gather and corroborate information from an unusually wide array of sources because we can speak with all of them in good faith.

fund this enterprise, Iraq Oil Report depends on revenue from both advertising and subscriptions. Some of our advertisers and subscribers ‐ including companies, governments, and NGOs ‐ are also subjects of our reporting. Consistent with journalistic best practices, Iraq Oil Report maintains a strict firewall that removes business considerations from editorial decision-making. When we are choosing which stories to report and how to write them, our readers always come first.