|Date: Jun 15, 2019|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|Algerian ex-PM arrested over graft allegation|
ALGIERS: Algeria’s supreme court Thursday remanded ex-Prime Minister Abdel-Malek Sellal in custody over graft allegations, state TV said, in a continuing crackdown on alleged corruption and cronyism among associates of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Sellal is one of the closest Bouteflika associates to be detained since mass protests broke out in February, demanding the prosecution of people that protesters regarded as corrupt as well as sweeping democratic change.
Sellal, who left office in a May 2017 Cabinet reshuffle after serving as premier and Bouteflika’s campaign manager several times, is under investigation over “dissipation of public funds,” state television said.
Former Trade Minister Amara Benyounes, who served under Sellal from April 2014 to July 2015, appeared before the supreme court in a corruption case and was then placed in custody, state TV said.
Benyounes is also leader of the pro-government party the Algerian Popular Movement.
State television also said police had arrested Mourad Eulmi, head of the private firm SOVAC, a partner of Germany’s Volkswagen AG, at a car assembly plant in the western province of Relizane in connection with “corruption cases.”
It did not elaborate.
Wednesday, the supreme court had ordered the detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, for alleged involvement in corruption, including “awarding illegal privileges and dissipation of public funds.”
A judge at the supreme court confiscated the passport of former Transport and Public Works Minister Abdel-Ghani Zaalane and ordered him to show up at the court once a month, state TV reported Thursday, after saying Wednesday he was detained.
Bouteflika stepped down on April 2 under pressure from the army, which is now the main decision-maker. Its chief of staff, Ahmed Gaid Salah, has urged the courts to speed up prosecution of people suspected of involvement in corruption.
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,” according to state television.
Several prominent businessmen, some of them close to Bouteflika, have been detained pending trial.