April 23, 2019 / 2:36 PM / a month ago

Algeria’s army chief hails judiciary for anti-graft move

Police officers guard the gate of a court after businessmen suspected of corruption were driven into the building, in Algiers, Algeria April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria’s army chief said on Tuesday he welcomed an anti-graft drive against figures close to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, state TV reported, a day after the authorities announced the arrest of five business tycoons.

Bouteflika quit on April 2 after mass protests against his two-decade rule, in which protesters accused him of allowing widespread corruption in the Algerian political elite.

Army Chief Ahmed Gaid Salah played a role in Bouteflika’s resignation by calling for him to be removed from office, and has since called for a crackdown on corruption.

On Monday state television reported the arrest of billionaire Issad Rebrab, chairman of the family-owned Cevital diversified conglomerate with big interests in sugar refining, ranked by Forbes as Algeria’s richest man. Four brothers from the wealthy Kouninef family were also arrested.

(This story has been refiled to correct day in first paragraph to Tuesday from Monday.)

Reporting by Lamine Chikhi and Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Peter Graff

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