Iraqi parliament sacks Nineveh governor Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan over sunken ferry

Iraq boat accident
Members of the Iraqi Civil Defence rescue team lift a ferry which sank in the Tigris River with a crane in Mosul, Iraq.

Iraq’s parliament voted on Sunday to sack the governor of Nineveh after an overloaded ferry capsized, killing at least 90 people, in the provincial capital Mosul, state media said.

The boat was carrying families heading to an outing on an island in the Tigris River on Thursday when it sank. Many of the women and children on board could not swim.

Islamic State militants were driven from Mosul nearly two years ago, but relief has given way to impatience over alleged corruption as reconstruction of the destroyed city has stalled.

Scores of protesters swarmed Iraq’s president and the governor on Friday, forcing them to leave the site of the accident. The crowd threw stones and shoes at Governor Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan’s car, which sped off hitting two people, one of whom was taken to hospital.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Saturday formally asked parliament to remove Sultan. Iraqi law gives the federal parliament the right to sack provincial governors based on the suggestion of the prime minister.

Parliament also voted to sack Sultan’s two deputies, in line with Abdul Mahdi’s request. The governor can appeal the decision at court. He has not commented on the vote yet.

Abdul Mahdi’s letter to parliament accused Sultan of negligence, dereliction of duty, and said there was evidence he was misusing public funds and abusing power.

Protesters blamed negligence by the local government for the accident. The boat was loaded to five times its capacity, according to a local official.

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