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Algeria: The ex-official who won’t quit: PM Ouyahia defends ex Energy Minister Chakib Khelil

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The North Africa Journal-  November 3, 2017 – In an unexpected move, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has defended Chakib Khelil, the former Energy Minister who was allegedly involved in the big corruption scandals that hit Sonatrach while he was in office. The PM claims that Chakib Khelil was the victim of a “terrible injustice” after legal action was launched against him. This issue has divided the presidential majority, as the Secretary-General of the National Liberation Front (FLN), Djamel Ould Abbes has reacted to this statement by saying “If we are not confident in our courts, nothing would matter anymore.” Djamel Ould Abbes has called on the PM to “assume his responsibilities” for doubting the judiciary.

Former oil boss Chakib Khelil has had his name implicated in scandals related to alleged bribes paid by foreign companies operating in Algeria. Italian courts have been looking at this for a long time, and despite efforts from Algerian courts, the legal system there seems to have dropped the cases against Khelil. The latter is reported to be interested in running for President, although we do not see him winning any substantial support from the military, if he decides to run, given the bad publicity surrounding his tenure as minister. But Khelil continues to make the front pages of Algerian newspapers and despite bad publicity against him, he does not look like ready to retire anytime soon.

The North Africa Journal is a leading English-language publication focused on North Africa. The Journal covers primarily the Maghreb region and expands its general coverage to the Sahel, Egypt, and beyond, when events in those regions affect the broader North Africa geography. The Journal does not have any affiliation with any institution and has been independent since its founding in 1996. Our position is to always bring our best analysis of events affecting the region, and remain as neutral as humanly possible. Our coverage is not limited to one single topic, but ranges from economic and political affairs, to security, defense, social and environmental issues. We rely on our full staff analysts and editors to bring you best-in-class analysis. We also work with sister company MEA Risk LLC, to leverage the presence on the ground of a solid network of contributors and experts. Information on MEA Risk can be found at www.MEA-Risk.com.