May 26, 2019 / 2:13 PM / 24 days ago

Algerian prosecutor refers former PMs to supreme court over alleged corruption - state TV

ALGIERS (Reuters) - An Algerian prosecutor has asked the supreme court to investigate two former prime ministers and eight former ministers for alleged corruption, state television reported on Sunday, citing a statement from the prosecution.

Mass protests broke out in Algeria earlier this year demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people demonstrators regard as corrupt.

Most of the 10 politicians named by the public prosecution served in the cabinet just before President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on April 2 after pressure from protesters and the army.

The two former prime ministers are Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, who was also Bouteflika’s election campaign manager, according to the list broadcast by state television.

The former government ministers on the list are Amara Benyounes, Abdelakader Zaalane, Amar Ghoul, Karim Djoudi, Abdessalam Bouchouareb, Boudjemaa Talai, Amar Tou and Abdelkader Bouazghi.

They were in charge of the sectors of trade, transport, public works, finance and industry, transport, high education and agriculture respectively.

Their lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.

The army is now the most powerful institution after the departure of Bouteflika, who had ruled the North African country since 1999.

Army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah has said major corruption cases would be pursued to try to calm the protests which started on Feb.22.

Bouteflika’s youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge for “harming the army’s authority and plotting against state authority.”

At least five prominent businessmen have also been detained pending trial over involvement in corruption cases.

Protesters also want the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Beoui, who are considered as part of the ruling elite that has run the country since independence from France in 1962.

Reporting Hamid Ould Ahmed, Omar Fahmy; writing by Hamid Ould Ahmed and Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Keith Weir and Raissa Kasolowsky

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