Tunisian President Launches Major Anti-Corruption Offensive Against Hundreds Of Businessmen

The Tunisian justice announced this Friday the opening of an investigation against several former heads of public institutions, while the country’s president, Kais Said, has launched an anti-corruption offensive against nearly half a thousand businessmen accused of diversion of funds during the dictatorship.

Speaking to the state agency TAP, the spokesman for the Court of Appeal, Habib Torkhani, revealed investigations against the former president of the Tunisian National Instance for the Fight Against Corruption (INLUCC), Chawki Tabib, for the crimes of fraud and falsification of papers.

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The former chairman of the Arbitration Committee of the Truth and Dignity Instance (IVD), which investigated corruption and human rights violations that occurred in Tunisia over the last six decades, Khaled Krichi, will also be investigated for document manipulation.

On the other hand, three days after suspending Parliament, the president recovered a report published a decade earlier by the national investigation commission on corruption and embezzlement committed during the Ben Ali regime, in which 460 people are involved who have embezzled up to 4,000 million euros.

The president offers the accused investments in disadvantaged regions in exchange for dropping charges, through investments in public projects, such as schools and hospitals, in places selected as a priority by popular committees.

“I have asked for a settlement, I do not seek in any case to attack the businessmen. The spurred money must be returned to the Tunisians and we will make a legal agreement with them,” said the president after his meeting with the president of the Employers’ Association (Utica), Samir Magul, before adding “we don’t want to put anyone in prison.”

In the midst of a serious economic crisis and in the middle of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new agreement – the fourth of the last decade – worth 3,300 million euros, Said seeks to do “justice”, but also to restore a part of the state coffers, which reaches a public debt of 100% of its GDP.

He also asked the food sector, wholesalers, distributors and traders, take into account the “difficult” situation of Tunisians and reduce their prices after warning of the serious sanctions against those who commit crimes of monopoly and speculation.

On the 25th, Said announced the cessation of the head of Government and the suspension of the Assembly for 30 days as well as the withdrawal of parliamentary immunity to all deputies “to regain social peace and save the State,” a decision that the party Islamist Ennahda, the main political force, called it a “coup.”

Said argued that he was making use of article 80 of the Constitution which gives him the power to take “exceptional” measures in the face of “imminent danger” after consulting with the head of government and the president of Parliament.

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