Algiers Sidi M’hamed Cort in Abbane Ramdane Street, will witness, here on Monday, December,1, the beginning of the trial of the most prominent corrupt state ministers who became known as the “gang system”, the two former prime ministers, Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sallal, and former ministers of the industry as well.
Ouyahia is considered to be the most political figure in the era of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He did not leave positions of responsibility during the rule of the “gang”, where he spent about nine volatile years between a prime minister and about three years as justice minister, and the rest of the years he was an adviser to the presidency.
Bouteflika’s tenure was not the only one during which Ouyahia the secretary-general of the former National Democratic Alliance party enjoy the privileges and power of senior posts in the state, but he spent most of the years during rule of the former President Liamine Zaroual as prime minister (about three years), making him the most prominent political figure during the last three decades.
Even Abdelmalek Sallal took his premium post in the cake of the “gang system”, and in the system of the nineties, since 1998, because he was fluctuating between the portfolios of the ministries of interior and sports, public works, transport, and water resources, before becoming (about five years) prime minister (2012- 2017).
Sallal is considered the first minister in the history of independent Algeria to spend more than eight years holding the portfolio of the Ministry of Water Resources (2004/2012), which is the only ministry with the highest supply budget compared to the rest of the ministries, because of its large projects (the completion of about twenty dams + the huge project to divert water from Ain Saleh to Tamanrasset, southern Algeria).
The case is about corruption charges against Ouyahia and Sallal, and anyone who was Minister of Industry in the last five years, and who was responsible for the automotive installation sector, like Abdessalam Bouchouareb, who is still wanted by authorities, Youssef Yousfi and Mahdjoub Badda, who are jailed in Algiers Harrache prison, because of their position in decision-making projects over the last three decades, which gives the impression that it is an unusual trial, but a trial of a special phase in the history of independent Algeria, according to many observers.
Over the last few years, Ouyahia and Sallal have been the closest candidates to succeeding the former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who in turn has been a candidate for exit from El Mouradia Palace (due to illness), but the political conditions and balance calculations have not helped the two men, especially Sallal, who was almost ready to become the president, about six years ago, until the “popular protests” came to destroy their dreams once and for all.
The prospects of return were present for Ouyahia and Sallal if the events stopped when the former president was blocked from running for a fifth term by the Hirak (popular movement).
However, the dramatic development later and the involvement of the justice system in pursuing the corrupts, and the subsequent imprisonment of those involved in corruption cases led by Sallal and Ouyahia, finally eliminated their dreams of returning to the political front.