The head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and one of its members were arrested by police on Thursday on corruption charges, IHEC officials said, in the latest apparent move for more government control of independent bodies.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won a court ruling in January 2011 that put the IHEC and other entities, including the central bank, under cabinet supervision, raising concern over attempts to consolidate power by the Shi'ite premier.
An IHEC official who declined to be named said a judge had issued a court order for police to arrest the head of the IHEC, Faraj al-Haidari, and member Karim al-Tamimi on charges they had given bonuses to some employees of the body.
Haidari confirmed to Reuters by telephone that he and Tamimi had been arrested but denied the graft charges.
"It has nothing to do with corruption at all," he said.
"The whole issue occurred in 2008 when the IHEC council was authorised to give some bonuses... The amount is 100,000 Iraqi dinars ($85.76) for each person, they were five or six only. There was an approval from the Iraqi board of supreme audit."
Haidari and other IHEC members were summoned to parliament last July to respond to questions about the bonuses, but a vote of no-confidence against the commission failed to carry.
Political tensions have been running high in Iraq since December, when Maliki moved against two senior Sunni politicians following the withdrawal of U.S. troops nine years after the invasion that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
Critics fear that the premier may be showing autocratic tendencies in some of his actions and view Maliki's control over key security ministries with suspicion.
On Wednesday, a parliamentary source said parliament had sent a letter to the cabinet reminding it not to interfere in central bank policy and not to assert its authority unconstitutionally.
Nigeria have freed 20 women and children from the Boko Haram hideouts in the Sambisa Forest.
The Burundi National Security Council has called for all protests to cease.
19 Malian soldiers have been captured by opposition soldiers in Mali.
The leaders of Turkish and Greek communities have put aside peace negotiations toured Lefkosa.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that today they were on the last stretch of negotiations that will release 7.2bn euro's to prevent bankruptcy
Anti-drug officers have raided the house of Kashamu Buruji, wanted by the US for drug related offenses.
The Congress of Journalists of the Turkic World will meet in Russia on May 26.
Germany's relations with the US intelligence NSA have apparently cooled after secret documents were leaked to the media by a German parliamentary committee.
Five asylum seekers from two boats have died off the Tunisia coast after the boats capsized.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that if Ukraine defaults, Russia will take a tough position against them, including defending any national interests.
A number of small towns and villages have been taken over by the al-Shabaab in southern Somalia.
The Bank of England has confirmed that it is researching all possible implications of a possible British EU exit.
Two people, including the senior transport officer in Mogadishu have been killed in a drive-by shooting.
Two provinces are now under state of emergency have clashes over a mining project turned violent.
After a campaign by teacher and student unions, the University of Helsinki has cancelled the G4S contract, followed by North Carolina also dropping their contract that provided security services in civic buildings which has now been replaced by a local company.
UN members have failed to agree on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East.