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Algeria Embarking ‘Clean Hands’ Campaign Against Corruption, Questions Tycoons

Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month

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algeria, clean hands campaign, corruption
FILE - Protestors carry a large flag and chant slogans during a demonstration against the country's leadership, in Algiers, April 12, 2019. VOA

Algerian authorities are embarking on a “Clean Hands” campaign aimed at rooting out corruption that has been linked to top tycoons and current and former government officials. Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month. New protests are scheduled for Friday.

Several influential Algerians have been questioned or arrested in recent days. Among them is Issad Rebrab, head of Algeria’s biggest private conglomerate Cevital, who is suspected of possible customs-related violations and other financial wrongdoing, according to prosecutors.

Rebrab, 75, is estimated by Forbes to be Algeria’s richest man and employs 18,000 workers in his agribusiness empire. He tweeted that he went in voluntarily for police questioning. He was questioned for six hours before being taken to the El Harrach prison.

clean hands campaign, corruption
Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month. VOA

Others targeted include a legislator accused of accepting bribes from a Chinese company. Also detained for questioning this week were three wealthy brothers believed close to Bouteflika’s brother Said, and seven Industry Ministry officials suspected of “non respect of contractual commitments with state enterprises” and influence trading.

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The Kouninef brothers’ lawyers said they are respecting the legal procedures but need time to consult the case files before commenting. The brothers made their fortune in the oil, food and advertising businesses.

The highest court in Algeria announced in a statement Wednesday that it is considering a case against ex-energy minister Chakib Khelil for acts related to “violations of foreign exchange laws and transfers of capital to foreigners.” Khelil is a close friend of Bouteflika and a high school classmate. Other former ministers are also targeted. (VOA)

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Central Government to Launch ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ Scheme in a Bid to Curb Corruption

There will also be the creation of a Central Repository of all RCs which will help in checking duplication

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one nation, one ration card, corruption
An Indian agency distributing ration. Wikimedia Commons

In a bid to curb corruption and dependence on one Public Distribution System (PDS) shop, the Central government will launch the ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme.

The scheme, according to Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan, will ensure that all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any shop of their own choice.

The Minister asserted that the biggest beneficiary of this will be those migrant labourers who move to other states to seek better job opportunities and will ensure their food security. “This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption,” the Ministry said in a statement.

ration card scheme, corruption
There will also be the creation of a Central Repository of all RCs which will help in checking duplication. Wikimedia Commons

It added that in the next two months, beneficiaries of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will be able to access the PDS shops. The objective of the department is to ensure that this is implemented nationally in a time bound manner.

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At present, the Integrated Management of PDS (IMPDS) is a system that is already operational in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura wherein a beneficiary can avail his share of food grain from any district in the state. Other states have also assured that IMPDS will be implemented at the earliest, the statement said.

There will also be the creation of a Central Repository of all RCs which will help in checking duplication. (IANS)