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Corruption trial of two Algerian ex-ministers begins

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Corruption trial of two Algerian ex-ministers begins

Louiza Ammi for JA

The trial of two ex-ministers for serious corruption charges begins today. 

Former Minister of Industry Mohamed Benmeradi and former Minister for Privatisation and Investment Promotion, Abdelhamid Temmar, stand accused of multiple offences, including granting privileges and credits, squandering public finances and exploiting public positions for personal financial gain. 

Over the previous decade many prominent civilian and military officials have been imprisoned on corruption charges, not least ex-prime mninisters, former chief advisors and previous intelligence chiefs. 

However, corruption in Algeria continues to worsen. Often arrests are used to settle political scores rather than address the issue head on. Algeria’s corruption ranking has fallen to 116th, from 88th in 2015. As well as hampering economic progress, this is one of the leading impediments to national stability, security and social development. 

The government has commissioned multiple anti-corruption agencies. However, malfeasance will continue so long as ineffective anti-corruption laws, limited judicial independence and oversized bureaucracies remain. 

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Algeria should first focus on strengthening access-to-information legislation. The 2020 constitutional revision supposedly addressed this, but in practice decision-making processes are opaque and rules rarely enforced. 

Furthermore, legal reform alone will not eradicate corruption. More political will is required to bring about an independent judiciary, strengthen parliamentary processes and increase transparency. Those in power must cease from using corruption campaigns to settle personal vendettas and focus on empowering independent agencies and furthering transparency if corruption is to be brought to heel. 

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