Tunisia: IACE Supports Decision to Return Public Money Looted By Corrupt Businessmen and Calls for Prosecution of Smugglers

Tunis/Tunisia — The executive committee of the Arab Institute of Business Leaders (IACE), which met on Thursday, supported the decision of President Said to return public money looted by businessmen in order to establish the principle of accountability and break with all forms of blackmail and demonization that can target honest businessmen.

The meeting of the IACE executive committee comes after the meeting held Wednesday between the President of the Republic and the President of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), Samir Majoul, during which Saïed stressed the need to return the public money stolen by businessmen involved in corruption and embezzlement, through a judicial settlement.

The committee also expressed its appreciation for the position of the President of the Republic who insisted that only 460 businessmen out of 150 thousand are involved in cases of spoliation of public money, according to the 2011 Report of the National Commission on Corruption and Embezzlement.

The IACE has also stressed the need to clean up the business climate, support investment and restore confidence between the various actors by establishing the rule of law, avoiding abuses and guaranteeing the right of defence.

The institute believes, to this end, that it must be made clear that prosecutions will be limited to businessmen involved in corruption cases in order to dispel doubts and not to undermine confidence, also calling for the prosecution of major smugglers who do not belong to the category of businessmen but whose activity is highly detrimental to organized businesses and national economy.

The IACE has also stressed the importance of forming a government of skills that combine experience, courage and the ability to act in the shortest possible time and to put in place a clear roadmap to implement the reforms necessary for the recovery of the national economy, far from populism and political calculations.

Kaïs Saïed met with the President of UTICA, Samir Majoul, Wednesday and announced the drafting of a bill of judicial settlement to allow businessmen who have abused public money to regularise their situations, in return for a commitment from each of them to finance projects in all the delegations of Tunisia which will be ranked in descending order from the poorest to the least poor.

Saïed said that only 460 businessmen out of the 150 thousand members of UTICA are involved in cases of embezzlement of public money that they are liable for an amount of 13,500 billion, according to the Report of the National Commission on Corruption and Embezzlement in 2011.

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