Algeria’s ex-prime minister, health minister get 5 years in jail

Noureddine Bedoui and former Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf were charged in a corruption case.

Noureddine Bedoui addresses media, in Algiers
Noureddine Bedoui addresses media, in Algiers [File: Anis Belghoul/AP]

Algeria’s former Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui and former Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf have been sentenced to five years in prison and fined 1 million Algerian dinars ($7,383), according to the state press agency.

The pair were sentenced on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Penal Court in the municipality of Sidi M’hamed in a corruption case.

The two were involved in a number of irregularities found in the construction of a new international airport in the state of Constantine, the press agency said.

The cost of the project skyrocketed to nearly seven times the original estimate, and its construction also took 10 years more than the projected four , costing the public treasury huge sums of money, according to news outlet Al Mayadeen.

In the same case, the court acquitted the former governor of the state of Constantine, Taher Sakran, and the former secretary-general of the state, Ben Youssef Aziz, of all charges against them, the press agency said.

Bedoui served as prime minister of Algeria from March to December of 2019, appointed as part of a caretaker government after Algerians protested for the removal of the late former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and after Bedoui’s predecessor Ahmed Ouyahia resigned in the wake of the protests.

Weeks of protests took place that year, even after Bouteflika quit. Algerians fed up with Bouteflika’s inner circle called for Bedoui’s resignation alongside that of then-interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah.

Bouteflika’s departure was followed by a string of prosecutions against senior members of his inner circle, many of whom remain in prison today.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies