ex-High Minister Ahmed Ouyahia once more

Two former prime ministers of the Bouteflika regime, Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, are accused of being involved in a corruption scandal and covert funding of the ousted president’s recent election campaign. They were sentenced in the first instance and on appeal to 15 and 12 years in prison, respectively. After winning their case before the Supreme Court, the two former heads of government had another chance to speak on 9 January.

Ahmed Ouyahia, four times prime minister of Algeria between 1995 and 2019, was called the first to the bar on 9 January. In this case, he is accused in particular of “giving unnecessary privileges, abuse of office, conflicts of interest and money laundering”, accusations, which he again denied.

But for the first time, the former prime minister agreed, according to the Algerian press agency (APS), to answer the source of the funds that are in three of his accounts. He explained that he was silent so as not to undermine relations between Algeria and certain friendly countries.

Gold bars from the Gulf countries are sold on the parallel market

He said on January 9 that he, in his capacity as prime minister, had received “gold bars as a gift from the leaders of the Gulf countries”, adding that he had “sold them to the parallel market”. He said he did not report these amounts because he had been in care since 2017.

As for companies owned by two of his sons, Ahmed Ouyahia swore that his children did not receive any benefit. The former head of government assured his judges that they had obtained bank loans under the auspices of the National Agency for the Support of Youth Employment.

►Read also: Algeria: Former Prime Ministers Ouyahia and Sellal convicted of corruption

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