Lawmakers unanimously agreed that the return of the major corruption files, or the so-called “second-batch”, such as the “Highway, Khalifa and Sonatrach” scandals at the Supreme Court level, is due to the conviction of the Public Prosecution of the same judicial authority that there is evidence against some people who were overlooked in original cases that are not obsolete and therefore will be vigorously pursued by law in new files that are separated from the first accusations.
In this context, the lawyer Boudjemaa Ghechir told Echorouk that the files that were presented to the Supreme Court in the framework of cassation cannot be added to other defendants in the same file, but if the public prosecution finds that other accused persons were overlooked and if their involvement is proved with strong evidence in untouched facts, they can be followed up with new files that are separate from the original file.
Pr. Ghechir gave an example; “If there are mentioned names in the scandal of the century that is known as the “Khalifa scandal”, in which several personalities are involved. These people could be called again by the investigating advisor in the context of reopening the case file to hear them according to the legal procedures”.
For his part, the lawyer Farouk Ksentini told Echorouk, that the Public Prosecution of the Supreme Court and after being convinced of the existence of new evidence against some names and influential figures who were previously excluded from the list of defendants despite their involvement in heavy cases such as, the highway east-west, Khalifa. Sonatrach, the court will open new files that will be separate from the first files and follow them on new charges.
Responding to the question of the situation of limitations in the files, Pr. Ksentini said that issues affecting the public treasury are not subject to limitations, because they are related to public money and can be moved by the Public Prosecution in favor of the common law.
Echorouk sources revealed that the reopening of these major files was supervised by experienced judges, including the director of the office of the Supreme Court’s Chairman, where in-depth investigations have been reopened to include names and influential figures that were not pursued by judicial proceedings in all files.
It is known that four years after the file of the Khalifa case was closed, or the so-called “scandal of the century”, in which the criminal court of Blida imposed an 18-year sentence against the main defendant in the case, Abdelmoumen Khalifa, who appealed the ruling at the level of the Supreme Court, the file was reopened again last May, at the level of the second chamber of the same court, the case that cost the state treasury more than $ 5 billion, led by the head of the gang leader Said Bouteflika, the former Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, the former Transport Minister, Amar Ghoul, and Abdelsalam Bouchaouarb, Sidi Said and other officials who came out of the case file and were not mentioned at the instigation of the heads of the gang and the symbols of the Bouteflika regime at the time, in accordance with the procedures that were laid down in Article 573 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the privilege of litigation.
The first president of the Supreme Court also received instructions to reopen another corruption case involving Algeria’s largest oil company, Sonatrach, which is linked to a $ 250 million bribery that the company and the public treasury incurred as a whole, with the complicity of certain parties, by manipulating the Public Transactions Law, which was violated by Sonatrach officials, and the file is under the control of the Accounting Board and the General Inspector of Finance.
The case was blown up in early 2010 and subsequently developed and the list of involved parties was expanded in stages known as Sonatrach cases 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the former Energy Minister, Chakib Khalil, is one of the most prominent defendants in the case with the former Director-General of Sonatrach, Mohamed Meziane. The Criminal Court of the Algiers Judicial Council issued, on February 2016, varying sentences against the defendants that ranged from acquittal to six years imprisonment with fines against same defendants, while Chakib Khalil escaped the follow-up after dropping an international arrest warrant against him due to a mistake in the proceedings, then he was summoned on April 24 by the Supreme Court for interrogation, but the latter submitted a medical file as a pretext to avoid being jailed with the “mafia elements” who are currently in Algiers Harrache prison.
The Supreme Court announced on June 19 the reopening of the file of the highway “East-West”, which is one of the largest corruption cases that caused much controversy since the investigation began in 2008 and until the programming of the case for trial in 2015, which was folded on May 7 of the same year with sentences ranging between 7 and 10 years against the accused, including the businessman Chani Majdoub, and the director of the highway’s agency in the Ministry of Public Works, Mohamed Khalladi Mohamed, whose statements raised many questions about the conduct of transactions in the Public Works Ministry, and his bold accusations to the head of the sector, Ammar Ghoul, who is currently in temporary confinement in Algiers Harrache penal institution.