BAGHDAD (AFP/Reuters) - Iraqs former trade minister Abdel Falah al-Sudany was arrested on Saturday when trying to flee the country in the wake of a graft scandal involving food rations after his plane was dramatically ordered back to Baghdad. An Iraqi judge issued an arrest warrant for former trade minister on Saturday, but he had already boarded a plane to Dubai, parliaments anti-graft watchdog said. A passenger travelling on the same plane as Sudany said it was turned around about half an hour into the flight. The captain told us we had to go back to Baghdad because of congestion at Dubai airport, passenger Abdul-Muhsin Salem said, adding that about 250 other travellers were on board. On arrival, he (the minister) was taken by two plain clothes security officers from the plane in Baghdad airport. They were very polite. He wasnt handcuffed or anything. A Reuters reporter had earlier seen Sudany at Baghdad airport. His bodyguards denied he was going anywhere. Sudany resigned this month over a corruption scandal relating to Iraqs public food ration programme, one of the worlds biggest. The scandal, in which millions of dollars meant to buy food imports were embezzled or taken in kickbacks by officials in Iraqs Grain Board and in the ministry, has already led to the arrest of one of Sudanys brothers and the flight of another. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is close to Sudany, has pledged to crack down on endemic graft, a top concern of Iraqis before parliamentary elections next January. The Trade Ministry controversy erupted shortly after a video circulated in Baghdad apparently showing one of the brothers and a ministry spokesman cavorting with a belly dancer and a lap dancer. One of the men insults Maliki on the video, which appears to have been recorded on a cellular phone. The head of Iraqs Integrity Commission in parliament, Sabah al-Saedi, said he had called Baghdad airport after the arrest warrant was issued to order that the former ministers plane be recalled. Saedi said the minister had booked air tickets to both Dubai and Amman. There should be no protection for the corrupt from any party, whether its the judicial or monitoring authorities, the executive or political parties, as Iraqs money is the property of Iraqis, not the property of a party or government or parliament, he told journalists. The warrant accused the minister of squandering public funds and abusing his authority. The Ministry has denied the graft accusations and blamed them on disgruntled employees or political opponents. The Ministry buys hundreds of thousands of tonnes a year of sugar, lentils, grains and other food and basic household goods to supply a national ration programme. Iraqs farming sector has been hit by drought and under-investment, and Iraq has become one of the worlds leading importers of rice and wheat.