Corruption Rampant in Algeria

Article Summary
Zoubeir Fadel writes that Algeria faces widespread corruption, with 948 cases were reported in 2010. The corruption is concentrated heavily within parliamentary and electoral procedures, but banks, community groups, and post offices have not been spared. The most prevalent type of corruption involves the embezzlement of public funds.

Community groups, banks and the post office are high on the list of corrupt institutions in Algeria. The Ministry of Justice revealed that in 2010 it had addressed approximately 1000 cases of corruption, which include bribery, embezzlement of public funds and the exploitation of workers. Experts and officials in the Algerian police volleyed accusations against parliament, claiming that it has turned into a "stock market" of wealth and influence, where favors are bought at the expense of the people's interest.

The Algerian police and their experts addressed the corruption files in light of the Sonatrach Company scandal, and the bank and post office embezzlement cases. "Corruption has become rampant in Algerian society and all of its institutions," they said.

In his April 4, 2012 speech during the inauguration of a forum on corruption and its treatment, Colonel Muhammed al-Taher Usmani, who is also in charge of the fourth police district, said that "the proceeds of corruption in the world are estimated to be more than $1 trillion paid annually in bribes, which is equivalent to 3% of the global economy."

Samir Marbouhi, who is the chairman of the department of economic and financial crime at the National Institute of Criminal Evidence and Criminology and captain of the national gendarmerie in Bouchaoui, said that based on figures provided by the Ministry of Justice on the issue (948 cases), corruption is most rampant in community groups, banks and post offices. The most prevalent crimes involve the embezzlement of public funds, with 475 cases, followed by the exploitation of workers and bribery of public officials.

Belgacem Sultaniah and Samia Hamaid of the University of Biskra described corruption as "hidden violence." They warned that "corruption has made its way into Algerian society and to all of its institutions and bodies." The head of police telecommunications Colonel Krud Abdul Hamid said that the international conventions of which Algeria is a member "fight and prevent corruption through the establishment of anti-corruption bodies and by promoting transparency in financing electoral campaigns."

"The international anti-corruption networks have gained momentum and become important, which stimulated the youth to participate in the fight against corruption through social networking sites ... In Algeria, corruption goes hand-in-hand with money laundering, drug trafficking and the financing of terrorism, making it a transitional crime. The Algerian police is fighting against corruption in the field," he added.

The police experts did not ignore the legislative elections or the question marks regarding corruption. Kharbashi Akila of the University of M'sila said to El-Khabar newspaper that "the parliament has turned into a stock market for the wealthy. Wealth and power have replaced integrity and competence in the electoral standards. Businessmen have become involved, as they realized that it is necessary to access the decision-making centers to preserve their interests."

She added, "despite the fact that the parliament's main constitutional task is to preserve the people's trust and express their concerns, many businessmen have become centrally involved in the parliamentary corruption scandal." Other experts also added, "political parties strayed away from their main goal, which is to express the people's concerns. Political parties are seeking to tame their members so that they become entirely subjugated to the parties' order, even if it is against their will. Instead of producing qualified personnel to defend the people's interests, the political parties have become channels for accelerating access to material gains."

Found in: al-taher usmani, embezzlement, corruption, bribery, algerian ministry of justice

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