Algeria energy giant ex-chiefs jailed
Algiers – Two former bosses of Algeria’s state-owned energy giant Sonatrach have been sentenced to prison and fined after being convicted of corruption, state media reported on Wednesday.
Mohamed Meziane, Sonatrach’s former chief executive, was sentenced to two years in jail, one of which was suspended, and ordered to pay a fine of around $7 000 .
Abdelhafid Feghouli, who had succeeded Meziane on an interim basis, was also handed a one-year jail term, eight months suspended, and fined $3 000.
A week ago, prosecutors in Oran, more than 400km west of the capital Algiers, had requested a six-year jail term and a $14 000 fine for the two men for corruption in company tenders for consultancy and security contracts as well as for misappropriation of public funds.
Three other defendants, Benamar Touati, Mekki Henni and Nechnech Tidjini were also sentenced to one year in jail, including eight months suspended.
The men had pleaded their innocence.
Meziane was appointed in September 2003 to head Algeria’s biggest firm which employs 125 000 people and made $9.2bn profit in 2008 for an annual turnover of $80.8bn, according to Sonatrach’s last financial report.
The company accounts for 98% of the north African country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Last January, Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil announced that Meziene and four associates were subject of a judicial inquiry but did not detail the allegations against him.