Algeria: President Tebboune fires minister over unreported real estate purchases

North Africa Journal: On 29 July 2020, President Tebboune dismissed the Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Security, Ahmed Chawki Fouad Acheuk Youcef. The presidency did not provide the reasons for the decision in its communique. However, sources said Acheuk-Youcef has been caught concealing real estate purchases he made in Spain. The Minister is said to own two apartments in Benidorm, a seaside resort on the east coast of Spain, in investments that he did not disclose. The Minister has reportedly acquired the two apartments before taking up his functions in the government of on 4 January 2020 and failed to include them in his asset declaration required by the Supreme Court.

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Algiers, July 29, 2020 (AFP) – Algeria’s President on Wednesday sacked Employment Minister Ahmed Chawki Fouad Acheuk Youcef, his office offering no reason for the move. Tebboune “today signed a decree ending Mr Ahmed Chawki Fouad Acheuk Youcef’s tenure as works, labour, employment and social security minister,” the presidency said in a statement published by the official APS agency. It also named an interim replacement, Kaoutar Krikou who is already the national solidarity minister.

M. Acheuk Youcef, 64 ans, was named to the post in January as part of Tebboune’s first goverment since his December 2019 election. He was reappointed during a government reshuffle in June that saw the energy and finance ministers replaced — two of the key sectors in Algeria’s economy.

The North African country is very vulnerable to falls in oil prices. Confronted also by a political crisis and a rise in COVID-19 cases, fears are growing of a financial crash and social unrest.  Mass protests swept Algeria early last year in response to ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s announcement that he would seek a fifth term in office. They swiftly morphed into demands for a sweeping overhaul of the political system, carrying on well beyond Bouteflika’s April 2019 resignation.  Last month Said Bouteflika, the former president’s brother, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on corruption charges.

The protests were only suspended in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the country. Acheuk Youcef is the second minister to leave the government since the June reshuffle. Samir Chaabna, minister for the Algerian diaspora was fired barely four days after his appointment due to his double French-Algerian nationality.

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