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Fri, 22 Nov 2019 13:51 GMT

Algeria's Former Industry Minister Detained over Corruption Charges According to State TV

Politics

7Dnews London

Thu, 11 Jul 2019 14:34 GMT

Algerian state television reported that the Supreme Court had ordered the placement of former industry minister Youcef Yousfi in custody on corruption-related charges, Reuters has reported.

Yousfi has become the latest senior official to be held in corruption investigations since protests broke out earlier this year with demonstrators demanding the prosecution of people considered to be corrupt and the removal of the ruling elite.

The protesters and the army forced President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign on April 2nd, ending his 20 year rule. But the protesters continued to demand the departure of others from the old guard, who have dominated the oil and gas exporting country since independence from France in 1962.

Yousfi, who served as industry minister from August 2017 to March 2019, was accused of "giving undue benefits to others and entering into deals and contracts contrary to legislation and the dissolution of public funds," state television said without going into details.

Yousfi's lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Last month, the Supreme Court ordered the detention of other senior officials, including former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sallal, on charges of "squandering public funds."

The army is now the main decision maker in Algeria and its chief of staff, Lieutenant-Colonel Ahmed Gaid Saleh, has repeatedly pledged to help the judiciary investigate corruption cases.

The protesters are now demanding the resignation of interim President Abdelkader Ben Saleh and Prime Minister Noureddine Badawi, believing they are closely linked to former President Bouteflika.

The government postponed a presidential election scheduled for July 4th attributing the decision to the lack of candidates but did not set a new date for the elections.

Ben Saleh called last week for political parties and national figures to take part in a comprehensive national dialogue to prepare for the elections, but some opposition leaders rejected the offer.


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