Politics, Africa

Algeria grills Bouteflika-era officials on corruption

Authorities launched a wave of anti-corruption investigations against top officials

Hassan Jebril, Abdelrazzak abdullah   | 29.04.2019
Algeria grills Bouteflika-era officials on corruption

ALGIERS

Algerian Finance Minister Mohamed Loukal appeared before court on Monday to answer corruption charges, according to the state television. 

Loukal faces multiple counts of charges, including "wasting public funds" and granting "illegal privileges". 

The accusations date back to the time when Loukal was in charge of the Central Bank in 2016 before being appointed as finance minister last March. 

Notably, former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia is expected to face trial as well in the coming few days over similar charges. 

Earlier Monday, the former head of Algerian police, retired Maj. Gen. Abdelghani Hamel, and his son appeared before court on trial on corruption charges. 

The pair are accused of "illegal activities including misuse of power", according to the state television. 

The former official led the Algerian police from 2010 to 2018 and has been one of the close security figures to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. 

Last week, Algerian authorities detained a number of businessmen close to Bouteflika for interrogation over corruption charges. 

Early this month, the 82-year-old Bouteflika announced his resignation following several weeks of popular protests against his continued rule. 

Abdelkader Bensalah, a former speaker of parliament, is currently serving as interim president for a 90-day transitional period -- overseen by the army -- during which presidential elections will be held. 

Demonstrators, however, have continued to call for the removal of all government officials associated with the Bouteflika regime, including Bensalah. 

They are also demanding accountability for Said Bouteflika, the former president’s influential brother who had also served as his adviser. 

* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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