Former Algerian PM Abdelmalek Sellal remanded in custody over graft

Supreme court decision follows detention of another former PN, Aahmed Ouyahia, on Wednesday

Former Algerian prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal was remanded in custody over corruption charges on June 13, 2019. Reuters
Former Algerian prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal was remanded in custody over corruption charges on June 13, 2019. Reuters

Algeria’s supreme court on Thursday remanded former prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in custody over allegations of corruption, state TV reported.

A day earlier, the supreme court ordered the detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, and the former public works and transport minister, Abdelghani Zaalane, for alleged involvement in corruption.

Both Mr Ouyahia and Mr Zaalane were taken to the prison of El Harrach on the outskirts of the the capital on Wednesday but it was not immediately clear where Mr Sellal would be held.

The detentions are part of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign that has followed a popular uprising that forced president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, to resign on April 2 after two decades in office. The weekly protests were launched to oppose Mr Bouteflika's plan to run for another term but the protester are now seeking the removal of an entrenched political class that has held power in Algeria since independence from France in 1962.

Mr Ouyahia, 66, stepped down in March after Mr Bouteflika announced he would not stand in the presidential elections scheduled for the following month, ending his fourth spell as prime minister that began in August 2017. Mr Sellal, 70, replaced Mr Ouyahia as prime minister in 2012 and held the post until May 2017, stepping down briefly in March 2014 to manage Mr Bouteflika's re-election campaign.

The former president's brother, Said Bouteflika, is among other leading figures in government and industry jailed recently on charges of corruption. It is widely believed Said Bouteflika held the reins of power in Algeria after the president suffered a 2013 stroke that left him unable to speak clearly , partially paralysed — and rarely seen in public.

Two retired generals who headed top intelligence units also have also been jailed on corruption charges.

The reliable online site TSA Algeria quoted a Justice Ministry statement dated May 26 saying a dozen former high government officials were being investigated for acts concerning "the conclusion of public works contracts contrary to rules and laws in place".

Published: June 13, 2019 03:28 PM

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