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Algeria: Prison sentences for Ouyahia and Bouchouareb in SOVAC case

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia in Paris, France, on 10 November 2018 [Ian Langsdon/AFP/Getty Images]
Former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia in Paris, France, on 10 November 2018 [Ian Langsdon/AFP/Getty Images]

The Court of Sidi M’hamed in Algiers issued a verdict on Wednesday on the car assembly plant case involving former Prime Ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, former ministers and businessmen.

The cases are linked to the car assembly industry in the north African country and illegal financing of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s election campaign.

The court issued 12 years’ imprisonment against Ouyahia, while it issued three years’ imprisonment and a fine against former industry minister Youcef Yousfi, announcing his innocence of the charge of bribery.

The court also issued a 20-year sentence, a fine and an arrest warrant against former industry minister Abdeslam Bouchouareb.

Mourad Eulmi, the head of the Algerian family-owned firm SOVAC which runs an assembly plant with Germany’s Volkswagen AG, was convicted and given ten years’ imprisonment.

READ: Ex-Algerian police commander ‘contacts Western intelligence agencies for asylum’ 

The former director-general of the Banque Nationale D’Algerie, Omar Boudiab, was issued three years’ imprisonment. Jenaoui Fawzi and Abdel Karim Mostafa were acquitted. Olemi Khider was given a seven-year prison sentence and a fine with his imprisonment. Alwan Mohammad Tira Amin was issued a two-year sentence, including a suspended year and a fine.

Ouyahia is being tried in several cases relating to corruption and the exploitation of influence, and was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in another case. He is also being pursued in other cases relating to corruption and mismanagement in his position as prime minister during the rule of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, on several occasions between 1999-2019.

Ouyahia defended himself during his trial in the corruption case, and informed the hearing session judge two days ago that he was: “Running the government and was scrutinising every detail, especially those related to grants for deals and projects.”

“I did not run the government over the phone. I had an eye on everyone and I was signing papers, but I trust my government’s ministers because I am not an expert in everything,” added Ouyahia.

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