Tunis – Kamal Ben Younes

Tunisian official judicial and security sources confirmed that the new Minister of Interior, Khaled Al Yahyaoui, recently issued decisions that placed former ministers, judges and public figures under house arrest for their suspected involvement in corruption and abuse of power.

Among them are two senior judicial officials, Taieb Rached and Bechir Akremi, who have served in the judiciary for nearly 20 years. Others included former Minister of Transport and Communication Technology and prominent Ennahda member Anouar Maarouf, and former Minister of Environment and Local Governments before the 2019 elections, Riadh Mouakher.

Head of parliament’s anti-corruption committee and leading member of the People’s Movement, Badreddine Gammoudi, who is close to the Carthage Palace, stated that a number of “very well-known” personalities were placed under house arrest or were prevented from traveling, including some senior figures who served during the tenure of former Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

Some lawyers expected that the investigation with the senior officials would open files of corruption and “large-scale” financial and administrative misconduct pertaining to state real estate and other deals that include some “big smugglers”, ministers, politicians and administrators in the pre- and post-revolution 2011 eras.

The cases will also lead to the reopening of files concerning businessmen and politicians, whose properties and financial assets were confiscated by the authorities during the last three years of the rule of late President Beji Caid Essebsi and his prime minister, Chahed.

Judicial, human rights and union organizations and personalities have called on the authorities to respect law and human rights and to expedite the formation of the “new economic government”, in order to put an end to the “political and administrative vacuum” that most state institutions have been experiencing since the president sacked Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and the government and suspended parliament.

Observers noted that over the past two weeks, President Kais Saied has not met publicly with any of the leaders of the parliamentary and opposition political parties. Rather, he only received representatives of unions and civil society for brief meetings.

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