Algeria: New Measures to Protect Public Funds, Boost Judicial Police of Military Security Services

Algiers — Minister of Justice Belkacem Zeghmati said Sunday in Algiers the bill amending the Code of Criminal Procedure aiming at "protecting public funds," through the facilitation of instituting criminal proceedings, and the "removal of the constraints hindering the work of the judicial police.

Speaking before the Committee on legal Affairs at the People's National Assembly (lower house of Parliament), Zeghmati said amending the Code of Criminal Procedure is meant to "strengthen the legal framework of the fight against crime, through the repeal of provisions with negative effects on the institution of criminal proceedings, and the removal of constraints hindering the work of the judicial police."

In this respect, the bill proposes the repeal of Articles 6a, 15a, 15a 1 and 15a 2 of the du Code of Criminal Procedure relating to the conditions for instituting criminal proceedings in crimes relating to public funds, as well as the assignments and missions of judicial police of the military security services.

The bill also proposes the amendment of Article 207 relating to oversight by the indictment division of judicial police activities, by the review of measures put in place through the law of March 2017.

The amendments of the Code of Criminal procedure of July 2015 are relating to the requirement of a prior complaint, by governing bodies of an economic enterprise, for the institution of criminal proceedings against managers of a firm in which the State owns 100 percent of the capital or a mixed capital company, for theft, embezzlement, degradation or loss of public or private money.

Those provisions, Zghmati said, are an "obstacle" hampering the work of jurisdictions, in general, and the prosecution, in particular, due to positions and actions of the representatives of company's governing bodies, who "refrain from lodging complaints" against the perpetrators of criminal acts.

They refrain from failing complaints, the minister said, arguing a lack in penal classification of the perpetrated acts, considering them, in good faith or deliberately, as mere "management mistake that does not amount to a crime" while it is the exclusive prerogative of the judge.

The repeal of this article and a return to the legal rules and principles in investigations and prosecutions "is likely to enhance the protection of public money and boost the fight against financial crime."

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