Algerian ex-PM Sellal arrested over graft allegation: state TV
14 Jun 2019

Algeria’s supreme court on Thursday remanded ex-prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in custody over graft allegations, state TV said, in a crackdown on alleged corruption and cronyism among associates of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The court later ordered the detention of former trade minister Amara Benyounes over his alleged involvement in corruption scandals, private channel Ennahar TV reported, without elaborating.

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.

Thei lawyers were not available for comment.

Benyounes, who served under Sellal from April 2014 to July 2015, 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. Volkswagen declined to comment.

SOVAC and Volkswagen signed a $170 million deal in 2016 to set up a joint venture, with SOVAC holding a majority stake, to assemble vehicles under the Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, SEAT and Skoda brands.

On 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”.

By Hamid Ould Ahmed, Reuters, 13 June 2019

Read more at Reuters

Photo: LBM1948 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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