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Supreme Court validates law on confiscating ill-gotten wealth

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New Delhi: Describing corruption as a national economic terror, the Supreme Court of India on Thursday authenticated the new law made by Orissa and Bihar government to impound suspicious properties (and ill-gotten wealth) of “a person holding high public office or political office” as a pre-trial.

A bench headed by Justices Anil R Dave and Dipak Misra said that the laws endorsed by the two governments are not “unjust, unfair and arbitrary” as they aim to curb corruption in offices by committing to the legislative.

“The legislative intent is to curb corruption at high places and requires the accused persons to face trial in the special court in a speedier manner and also to see that the beneficiaries of ill-gotten property or money do not enjoy the property or money during a trial,” the apex court observed.

The court also pointed out that the Bihar Act renders the warrant process asserted by the Code of Criminal Procedure for a trial of cases in front of a magistrate, the 2010 Rules might not have suggested for a summary procedure, according to leading daily.

It also said that the high offices have prospects to gather disproportionate assets barring his/her personal source of income, forming a distinctive class. “The legislature, regard being had to the position the public servant holds, has put them in a different class,” said the apex court confirming the constitutional legitimacy of the Orissa Special Courts Act, 2006 and the Bihar Special Courts Act, 2009.

The court was unambiguous that no corrupt individual should be tolerated and should not be allowed to seek protection under the gambit of law if proved to acquire a house or constructed or purchased by corrupt revenues. It also commented that a defendant should be provided with adequate opportunities under the laws and if an inquiry of the accused is proved valid by the judge than the order of confiscation should be passed.

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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)