ALGIERS – The appeal trial of businessman Ali Haddad continued, Monday afternoon at the Court of Algiers, with the hearing of the defendants Amara Benyounes, Abdelghani Zaalane and Youcef Yousfi, in their capacity as former ministers.
The three defendants have all denied the facts with which they are accused, claiming that the concession contracts signed between the ERTHB group of which Ali Haddad owns, and their ministries, were inked before they were appointed ministers.
Amara Benyounes, who, in 2013, was Minister of Industrial Development and Investment Promotion, denied having signed contracts or other documents for the awarding of contracts to the ERTHB group, explaining that this fell within the prerogatives of the State’s Equity Council (CPE).
Abdelghani Zaalane, former Minister of Public Works and Transport, said, for his part, that he did not neither grant space in Algeria’s ports to Haddad’s group, nor to other operators, except for the GICA group, which is part of the public sector.
Youcef Yousfi, former Minister of Industry, said that the technical advice decisions he had signed do not grant any concessions, specifying that he signed such documents for hundreds of companies each year.
In addition to the main defendant Ali Haddad, the chairman of the session will hear, on Tuesday, the other defendants in this case, namely Amar Ghoul, Boudjemaa Talai, Mahdjoub Bedda and Abdelkader Kadi on the charges of “squandering public funds, granting of undue advantages and abuse of office “.
Currently in detention at the Tazoult (Batna) prison, the former head of the FCE Ali Haddad was sentenced, at first instance, to 18 years in prison with a fine of 8 million dinars, with confiscation of all his property.
He is being prosecuted on several charges, including obtaining real estate and banking privileges, and inking public contracts in violation of the legislation in force.