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Algerian court probes corruption charges against ex-energy minister

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Algerian court probes corruption charges against ex-energy minister

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The charges are related to “two deals signed by the state energy company Sonatrach with two foreign companies in an illegal way,” the court said in a statement on Wednesday.

Interim President Abdelkader Bensalah on Tuesday sacked Sonatrach chief executive officer Abdelmomen Kaddour and appointed Rachid Hachichi for the position.

On Wednesday, four businessmen from the powerful Kouninef family, which reportedly had close links with toppled president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, were placed in custody pending investigations into corruption charges.

The Kouninefs were arrested on Monday along with Issad Rebrab, who is considered the richest businessman in the energy-rich North African country.

Earlier in the day, Algeria’s military chief of staff Gaid Salah called on the authorities to step up investigations into corruption cases from Bouteflika’s era.

“The national army provides all guarantees for the judicial authorities to hold all corrupt people accountable without any restrictions or pressure,” he said.

On Saturday, an Algerian court summoned former Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia for investigations in an anti-graft case.

Bouteflika, 82, was forced to resign on April 2 after weeks of nationwide protests against his 20-year rule and pressure from the influential military.

Protests have continued since then, as demonstrators push for the departure of Bouteflika’s allies from power, including interim President Abdelkader Bensalah.

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