Africa

Algeria:Ex-justice minister detained over alleged graft

Key figure of former regime of President Bouteflika, Tayeb Louh appears before judge investigating corruption crimes

Abdul Razzaq bin Abdullah   | 22.08.2019
Algeria:Ex-justice minister detained over alleged graft

ALGIERS 

Algeria’s former Justice Minister Tayep Louh was detained on Thursday after appearing before a Supreme Court judge investigating the corruption crimes. 

According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent, Louh -- one of the most prominent faces of the regime of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika -- arrived at the Supreme Court in the Abyar district of the capital Algiers in the morning to appear before the investigating judge. 

After hours of hearing, investigation judge ordered Louh to remain in custody, pending trial over the corruption charges.

On Wednesday, the attorney general of the Supreme Court issued a statement confirming that the summoning of the former justice minister came in order to hear his statements in regard of criminal cases, after the arrival of his file from the Capital Judicial Council, without specifying the nature of the cases he is investigated upon.

As has happened with former officials who were interrogated by the Supreme Court, after hearing the convict for hours, the examining magistrate makes a decision to temporarily imprison them or put them under judicial control, that is, withdraw their passports and force them to appear periodically before him.

At the end of July, the Sidi Mohamed Magistrate Court in the capital issued a decision banning Louh from traveling without giving more details about the nature of his investigated files.

Louh was a leader of the former ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) and one of the closest officials to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

During Bouteflika's tenure, Louh led several ministries, most recently the Justice Ministry between March 2013 and 2019.

The investigation into Louh was part of a campaign began two months ago to fight corruption by interrogating the former Bouteflika-era officials.

This resulted in the temporary confinement of both former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, as well as former ministers and businessmen. 

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara


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