| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

Algeria hands new jail terms to two ex-premiers for graft

Two detained former prime ministers under Algeria’s longtime ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika were handed additional prison sentences on Monday for corruption, local media reported.

Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal were sentenced to six and five years respectively for money laundering, wasting public money, abuse of office and “awarding contracts in violation of public procurement regulations,” according to the newspapers Ennahar, Echorouk and El Hayat.

The charges related to Hamid Melzi, the former boss of a state firm that runs a luxury residence for government officials as well as a publicly owned hotel company.

Melzi was sentenced to five years in prison, and also faces trial for industrial espionage and “harming the national economy.”

Ouyahia served four times as prime minister between 1995 and 2019, while Sellal led the government from 2014 to 2017 and managed all four of Bouteflika’s election campaigns.

Bouteflika resigned in 2019 under pressure from the army, following weeks of mass protests against his bid for a fifth term in office.

He died this month aged 84 and was quietly buried without the honors accorded to his predecessors.

Following his fall, prosecutors launched a series of enquiries into businessmen close to the veteran ruler, resulting in several serving prison time for graft.

Algeria ranks 104th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

  • alarabiya