Algeria jails second ex-prime minister in corruption sweep
London, June 13, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Former Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has been jailed in an anti-corruption sweep -the second former head of government in two days to be sent to prison while his case is investigated.
A statement on Thursday by the prosecutor’s office said that Sellal is being investigated for “corruption and dilapidation of public funds” among other things. He served as prime minister from 2014-2017.
His incarceration came a day after former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, a leading political figure forced out in March, was sent to the El Harrach prison — where Sellal was jailed.
A former public works minister and campaign manager for ex-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was placed under judicial control Wednesday. Algerian media initially said that Abdelghani Zaalane was jailed.
The anti-corruption sweep comes amid a people’s revolt.
The crackdown Wednesday coincided with continuing popular protests since Feb. 22 to claim radical changes and trial of figures who served under ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
These two former senior officials are accused of squandering public funds while providing illegal privileges to specified businessmen, including former head of Employers Forum (FCE) and CEO of construction and public works group ETRHB, Ali Haddad.
The indictment list also includes the Kouninef brothers, who own a large construction group named KouGC, and Mahieddine Tahkout, CEO of an auto assembly and student transportation group.Haddad, Kouninef brothers and Tahkout, in addition to billionaire Issad Rebrab, CEO of the largest private group in Algeria, Cevital, have all been sent to investigative custody so far.
The Algerian justice has accelerated the pace of prosecutions, given that a group of 12 former senior government officials are also due to be tried for violations, squandering of public funds, and corruption while they were serving on public posts.
This large-scale anti-corruption operation comes amidst popular protests denouncing the country’s poor governance and money laundering, demanding that the people involved be brought to justice.
High-ranking army officers and prominent politicians are behind bars, including Said Bouteflika, brother of ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, two former intelligence chiefs, namely Mohamed Mediene and Athmane Tartag, as well as General Secretary of the Workers Party (left-wing opposition), Louisa Hanoune, who are charged by the military court with “attacking the authority of the army and conspiring against the authority of the state.” AP/Agency