BOUTEFLIKA’S REIGN IN ALGERIA MARRED BY GRAFT

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ALGIERS: Corruption, a recurring scourge for Algeria, has risen to the forefront of public life during President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s rule, fueled by soaring oil prices and an the explosion in imports. The judiciary has opened a graft probe centered on state-run energy giant Sonatrach, which has amassed nearly $700 billion in earnings since Bouteflika took office, with political leaders among those named in the investigation. “Oil prices have soared during Bouteflika’s 15 years in power. Oil wealth is the cause of the spreading corruption,” said Djilali Hadjadj, head of the Algerian Association to Combat Corruption, a non-government organization. “Those close to the presidential circle and the [political]system are generally involved at different levels,” Hadjadj told Agence France-Presse, estimating that tens of billions of dollars have been pocketed at different levels.

AFP

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