Inside Story

Algeria’s oil corruption scandal

What will it mean for the countrys economy and stability?

The CEO of Algeria’s most profitable company has been suspended, and is being investigated for corruption.

Mohamed Meziane is the chief executive of the state-owned oil company – Sonatrach.
Some other senior management have also been suspended –  and observers are saying the move could have crippling consequences on the Algerian economy.

The allegations are over how some contracts have been awarded to the company’s suppliers. The case is being handled by the powerfull department of military intelligence. Some reports suggest that this investigation could be the military’s attempt to regain some of its influence on Algerian affairs.

Sonatrach’s oil and gas production is continuing, but the government has said the impact of the investigation on both the company – and Algeria – will not be known for at least a year.
So why is the company so integral to the country’s well being? Is the scandal politically motivated? Who will have the upper hand? And what does it all mean for this north African nation?

Inside Story, with presenter Hoda Abdelhamid, discusses with guests: Akram Belkaid, a journalist and political commentator, Hamoud Salhi,a professor of political science at California State University, and Ismail Debeche, a professor of political science at Algiers University, and a leading member of the National Liberation Front (FLN).

Inside Story aired from Thursday, February 18, 2010.