Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s announcement that the authorities had discovered that one family had looted more than 36 billion dollars sparked controversy again about the amount of money that was looted during the era of the late President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who ruled the country for 20 years before he was forced to resign in the second. From April 2019, under the pressure of unprecedented popular protests.
Tebboune’s statements, Thursday, came a month after he announced that the state would recover the equivalent of about $20 billion that was looted internally, considering that “the stored funds will have another solution,” stressing the continuation of the fight against corruption.
Tebboune said, “The Algerian people have recently discovered huge numbers of looted money, to the extent that only one family looted 500,000 billion centimeters ($36 billion). Imagine the rest.”
He added, “If this money had continued, Algeria would have become a continental, Mediterranean, and other economic power.”
Some considered Tebboune’s announcement as a “blow to the corrupt.” While some saw that “this means that the amount of looted money is beyond imagination, and that it was sufficient for the renaissance of the entire nation for generations to come.”
But others questioned the sincerity of the president, and that the figure is an exaggeration.--
Last month, Tebboune said that “huge funds were smuggled (abroad) over a period of 10 to 12 years,” according to the official APS news agency.-
Tebboune added, “Most European countries extended a helping hand to Algeria regarding this issue and expressed their willingness to cooperate with us in order to recover these funds and return them to the Algerian state’s treasury, provided that legal procedures are respected.”
He continued, “The process is continuing, and there are properties visible in the form of 5-star hotels and others, so that we were officially notified in order to hand them over to Algeria, especially by countries that were a destination for smuggling and a source for inflating bills,” pointing out that there are some funds “placed in special safes in Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Virgin Islands.
He reaffirmed his commitment to recovering this money, despite the difficulty of this process, according to the Algerian News Agency.
Tebboune (77 years old) was, for a long time, a minister in a number of Bouteflika’s governments, who appointed him prime minister in May 2017, before dismissing him less than three months later.