Algeria awaits prosecution of new group of Bouteflika-era ministers

Political corridors in Algeria are waiting for a new group of senior officials from the era of former President Abdulaziz Bouteflika to be brought to justice after the conclusion of corruption and corruption investigations.

Two former prime ministers, several former ministers and business tycoons have been accused of misconduct in vital sectors of the North African state’s economy.

Some were jailed in 2019 after justice found them guilty of first degree crimes, while others are still awaiting trial.

“A new group of former government agency officials will soon be summoned before investigating judges of the Supreme Court (the highest body of civil justice),” a knowledgeable judicial source told Asharq Al-Awsat, who requested anonymity.

“Others will be called before the courts of first instance to respond to suspicions of corruption, mismanagement and squandering of public funds,” they added.

“Most of them were named during questioning of former officials, who have been sentenced by the courts over the past two years to prison terms,” ​​the source added.

Last Thursday, justice placed the former Minister of Finance Arezki Berraki in pre-trial detention.

He was taken into custody on charges of mismanagement of water dams.

Taher Khawa, who was Minister of Relations with Parliament, was also jailed for falsifying official documents.

The most famous officials of the Bouteflika regime convicted by the courts are former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, Abdelmalek Sellal, Said Barakat and Jamal Ould Abbas.

They were each sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 10 to 15 years. Some were also sentenced to death.

All of the prosecution’s judicial observers and investigating judges said the suspects claimed to have implemented President Bouteflika’s decisions and policies, the source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

They were quoted as saying that rejection of the president’s rulings in handling mega-deals and projects would have led to their dismissal and prosecution, the source added.

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