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Algeria: Saadani facing accusations of 'receiving funds from Morocco intelligence'

Leader of Algeria’s National Liberation Front (FLN), Amar Saadani
Leader of Algeria’s National Liberation Front (FLN), Amar Saadani [File photo]

Algerian media reports have revealed that judiciary has summoned Amar Saadani twice regarding accusations of corruption. One Algerian newspaper went further and accused Saadani of obtaining funds from Moroccan intelligence to buy a property in Spain.

Al-Watan newspaper reported that the judiciary summoned Amar Saadani twice in a corruption case involving the seizure of agricultural property and turning it into plots to build real estate. The newspaper additionally stated that Saadani, whose name appeared in a massive corruption case more than a decade ago, refused to respond to the summons.

The newspaper said that the chief of the investigating judges at the level of the Court of Sharqa, in the outskirts of the capital, began an investigation into a complex file. This involves the seizure of agricultural real estate at nominal prices, converting it into constructible plots then reselling it with high costs. The preliminary investigations showed the involvement of a large number of former officials, including ministers, in addition to Amar Saadani, who previously headed the Algerian parliament, as well as his wife. The newspaper pointed out that Saadani is accused of being involved in this scandal, and that he refused to respond to the summoning of the judge twice in a row.

The newspaper added that the judge continues to hear the accused people in the case and that a former communication minister will be summoned in the next few days.

The notary who signed the sales contracts was also summoned. The investigation was launched in 2014, but it was closed by the wife of Al-Ghali Belkassir, former head of the gendarmerie, who was a judge in the jurisdiction at the request of former Minister of Justice Tayeb Louh because names of senior officials were mentioned in the investigation.

READ: Law bans military staff from entering politics in Algeria

The newspaper explained that it is not the first time that the name of Amar Saadani is referred to in a scandal related to the agricultural property, as it was mentioned in the scandal of embezzlement of agricultural support funds, through which he received about $ 500 million, in a case that was raised then quickly closed. According to the newspaper, Saadani got a luxury villa in the upscale neighbourhood of Haidarah, spent a considerable amount of money to renovate it then he resold it. After that, he, together with his wife and children, set up a real estate company in Paris and bought several properties in the upscale neighbourhoods of the French capital. Al-Watan went further to say that Saadani had received money from Moroccan intelligence to buy a property in Spain, wondering whether he would stand for trial this time or he would escape as he had done previously.

It is noted that Amar Saadani broke his silence a few days ago to set off a controversy by stressing that Western Sahara is historically Moroccan and that Algeria should stop supporting the Polisario, which has sparked debate. Communication Minister Hassan Rabhi responded, saying that those were just meaningless words of people of no weight and no importance. For its part, the Parliamentary Group for Brotherhood and Friendship Algeria-Western Sahara said that, “Algeria’s positions on the Sahara issue and its call for an agreement between the parties to the conflict, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, are based on historical and legal convictions that the Sahrawi people should be empowered toward self-determination through a democratic referendum as conventionally recognized by international legitimacy and all relevant UN regulations.”

A statement by the parliamentary group said that the Sahara issue is one of the priorities of the Algerian people who struggle for the emancipation of people in Africa and the world. This issue is at the heart of the interest of civil society organisations, constituting an emotional basis of the parliamentary Group of Brotherhood and Friendship Algeria-Western Sahara in the People’s Assembly. This group that is pleading in all regional and international legislative unions and all international forums in defence of the justice of the cause of the Sahrawi people and their highly civilised struggle to regain their stolen sovereignty and self-determination.

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