Chairman of the Algerian Anti-Corruption Association, Djilali Hadjadj, sounded the alarm in light of the unprecedented increasing of the crime of smuggling hard currency through Algeria’s airports and ports abroad, amid a difficult financial situation that erodes the savings of Algerians from hard currency to more than half, and the drop of exchange reserves to $ 100 billion.
Hadjadj told Echorouk that the amount of money that is being seized is much less than the real value that is smuggled out of the eyes of censorship and control and that was not subject to seizure, which first destination is usually Turkey and Tunisia, wondering about the secret of the big rush of these groups to travel to Istanbul.
The representative of Transparency International did not hesitate to warn of the increase in the rate of smuggling of foreign currency through the eastern border crossings, recalling the latest operation that was revealed by the Directorate of Customs, when more than two million Euros were seized on board of a tourist car in possession of a young man who did not exceed the age of twenty years, saying: “I do not think this person is behind the operation. There are parties and cells whose activities must be investigated.”(…)
The spokesman pointed to the existence of money laundering which is behind the attempts to pass the Algerian “hard currency” through airports and ports, where some groups are involved in the smuggling of currency to be able to acquire properties abroad, to tabulate their money and seek safe havens, far from the eyes of taxes and to avoid suspicions and investigations and avois being asked the question “From where did you get this?”.
“The Algerians are at the forefront of property acquisitions in Paris, Alicante, Rome, Istanbul and other European capitals”, he added.
He criticized the silence of authorities about these economic crimes, especially as the number of smugglers is increasing year after year, asking to disclose the number of these smugglers and the real size of the smuggled hard currency, knowing that the Customs Department had revealed in the 2017 report the seizure of 25 million euros, while the Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, talked about violations of half a billion dollars, including all practices and crimes of financial evasion.
“We have not reached the point of combating negative phenomena because corruption is widening and has international dimensions”, he said.
He also regrets the absence of the real will to combat the phenomenon, despite the presence of laws and regulatory institutions.
He wondered why the government failed to regulate the foreign exchange market in Algeria , and its dependence on the parallel market, calling for the creation of exchange points in each municipality under the supervision of the provincial authority.
On the other hand, Djilali Hadjadji, justified the failure of the association that is headed by him to report the judiciary reports on violations that are committed in this context because of what he called “loopholes” in Algerian law, which does not give the associations the right to investigate such abuses, calling for the need to accelerate the amendment of the Law on Associations and the fight against corruption and make it more flexible, to be able to become a civil party at least.