Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

Former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia was among those who were referred to the supreme court on Sunday. (File/AFP)
Updated 27 May 2019
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Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

  • Former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika were referred to the Supreme Court
  • Eight other former government ministers were also referred

ALGIERS: An Algerian prosecutor has asked the Supreme Court to investigate two former prime ministers and eight former ministers for alleged corruption, state television reported on Sunday, citing a statement from the prosecution.

Mass protests broke out in Algeria earlier this year demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people demonstrators regard as corrupt.

Most of the 10 politicians named by the public prosecution served in the Cabinet just before President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on April 2 after pressure from protesters and the army.

The two former prime ministers are Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, who was also Bouteflika’s election campaign manager, according to the list broadcast by state television.

The former government ministers on the list are Amara Benyounes, Abdelakader Zaalane, Amar Ghoul, Karim Djoudi, Abdessalam Bouchouareb, Boudjemaa Talai, Amar Tou and Abdelkader Bouazghi. 

They were in charge of sectors such as trade, transport, public works, finance and industry, transport, high education and agriculture.

The legal action came as Algeria’s Constitutional Council said two candidates had registered for the July 4 presidential election.

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The two former prime ministers are Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, who was also Bouteflika’s election campaign manager, according to the list broadcast by state television.

The deadline for registration passed at midnight on Saturday.

The Constitutional Council said in a statement that it had received the files of two candidates, Abdelhakim Hamadi and Hamid Touahri, both unknown figures. No major party has nominated a candidate.

The poll is strongly opposed by protesters who reject any vote held under authorities they say are tarnished by corruption from the rule of Bouteflika.

Army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Ahmed Gaed Salah has said major corruption cases would be pursued to try to calm the protests which started on Feb.22.

Bouteflika’s youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge for “harming the army’s authority and plotting against state authority.”

At least five prominent businessmen have also been detained pending trial over involvement in corruption cases.

Protesters also want the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Beoui, who are considered as part of the ruling elite that has run the country since independence from France in 1962.


US will maintain pressure campaign on Iran: Pompeo

Updated 3 min ago
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US will maintain pressure campaign on Iran: Pompeo

WASHINGTON: The US will maintain its pressure campaign on Iran and continue to deter aggression in the region, but does not want the conflict with Tehran to escalate, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.

"We have been engaged in many messages, even this moment right here, communicating to Iran that we are there to deter aggression," Pompeo told reporters at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

"President Trump does not want war and we will continue to communicate that message while doing the things that are necessary to protect American interests in the region."

More to follow...