Algeria reopens two Bouteflika-era corruption cases

Algeria reopens two Bouteflika-era corruption cases

ALGIERS (Rahnuma) : Algeria has reopened two major corruption cases involving former Energy Minister Chakib Khelil, according to a Wednesday statement released by the country’s Supreme Court.

“Two cases related to Khelil and his associates… were referred to court Tuesday,” the statement read.

The twin cases, which date back to the period from 1999 to 2010, both involve Algerian state-run energy concern Sonatrach, according to the statement.

Khelil served as energy minister from 1999 (the same year in which recently-resigned President Abdelaziz Bouteflika took power) to 2010.

Khelil also served as Sonatrach’s CEO from 2001 to 2003.

In 2013, an international arrest warrant was issued for Khelil in connection with deals made between Sonatrach and Italian energy firms Eni and Saipem.

On Tuesday, Abdelkader Bensalah, who is currently serving as Algeria’s interim president, sacked Sonatrach’s current CEO, Abdelmoumene Ould Kaddour, and replaced him with Rachid Hachichi, the company’s production director.

One of Algeria’s largest companies, Sonatrach currently employs more than 120,000 people.

Early this month, the 82-year-old Bouteflika announced his resignation following several weeks of popular protests against his rule.

Bensalah, speaker of Algeria’s parliament, is now serving as interim president for a 90-day transitional period during which presidential elections will be held.

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