16 June 2019

Algeria: Ex-Prime Minister in Court Over Volkswagen-Linked Corruption Scandal

Photo: allafrica.com
Left: Ahmed Ouyahia. Right: Volkswagen Golf in Oued Chiffa, Algeria.

Four-time PM Ahmed Ouyahia has been questioned for a second time over alleged corruption involving the local partner of Volkswagen. He's the latest to face investigation as part of an army purge on the old ruling elite.

Algeria's former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia on Sunday was questioned by a court in Algiers over a graft case that involves German auto giant Volkwagen's local partner, local media reported.

Ouyahia was detained on Wednesday on the orders of the investigating judge at the Supreme Court.

Earlier in the day, former finance minister Karim Djoudi was ordered before the Supreme Court to face questions over the same scandal.

A criminal case has been opened against the head of Algeria's SOVAC group, a family-owned firm which runs an assembly plant with VW. CEO Mourad Eulmi and his brother have been accused of "receiving unjustified benefits" through governmnent contracts.

The ex-PM and finance minister are the latest senior figures associated with former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to face

investigations since angry protests broke out earlier this year demanding the departure of the ruling elite.

After 20 years in power, Bouteflika stepped down in April on orders from the army.

He is accused of years of mismanagement and corruption of the North African country.

Army chief of staff Ahmed Gaed Salah has since urged the judiciary to speed up the prosecution of people suspected of involvement in corruption cases.

Other prominent figures under investigation include former energy minister Chakib Khelil, Bouteflika's younger brother Said and several prominent businessmen.

The presidential election previously planned for July 4, has been postponed, with no new date set for the vote.

mm/jm (Reuters)

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