The East-West Highway in Algeria: Scandal, Corruption and Hope
As part of its activities aimed at promoting transparency, integrity and the fight against corruption on a global scale, the World Anti-Corruption Security Organization (OMSAC) has established a specialized department called "Integrity & Investigations.” This department is committed to closely monitoring press releases and publications from public institutions, international organizations and the media, with a view to analyzing relevant elements and drawing objective and ethical conclusions. Under this initiative, entitled "The Eye of OMSAC", we strive to provide unbiased analysis, while maintaining the integrity and credibility of all parties involved. Our goal is to raise public awareness of issues of corruption, good governance and integrity, while proposing constructive solutions for a more transparent and ethical future.
The article published by Jeune Afrique reveals a saga of corruption and scandal linked to the construction of the East-West highway in Algeria. This ambitious project aimed at linking the Moroccan border to the Tunisian border has become emblematic not only because of its record length of 1,216 km, but also because of the enormous financial pit it represents, exceeding 17 billion dollars. .
The idea for this highway dates back to 1983, but due to various economic crises and the civil war of the 1990s, its realization was delayed. It was only in 2004, when oil revenues began to flow in, that the project was revived. However, instead of resorting to foreign financing and strict controls from international organizations, former President Bouteflika chose 100% Algerian financing.
This opened the door to massive corrupt practices. Between 2005 and 2009, the Algerian state allocated around $140 billion to finance various major projects, attracting the interest of the business class who would later become oligarchs. These projects have also attracted foreign partners and a host of government and military officials, creating a breeding ground for corruption, embezzlement and embezzlement.
The East-West highway scandal has become one of the most resounding of the Bouteflika era. Former Public Works Minister Amar Ghoul, who oversaw the project, was sentenced to five years in prison for abuse of office and corruption in 2019. However, the project is far from being completed on schedule, and many sections are years behind schedule.
Despite these dark chapters of corruption, there is also hope in Algeria. Since President Tebboune came to power, the fight against corruption has become a priority. The Algerian justice system has taken measures to hold those responsible for these illegal acts accountable for their actions. It is important that real stakeholders in the public and private sector support these efforts to build a more transparent and ethical future for the country.
Furthermore, it is essential that Algerian civil society plays its true role by supporting and respecting state institutions through their integrity, their civic-mindedness, their sincerity in work, and by collaborating with the security services in their mission of fight against corruption, crime and all the scourges that blight the daily life of citizens. Peace dialogue, based on democracy, transparency, sincerity and impartiality, must be prioritized.
As the Global Security Organization Against Corruption (OMSAC), we are committed to combating cronyism practices and denouncing excesses that affect the integrity and morality of citizens who serve their country with loyalty. We encourage the efforts and good intentions of all actors working for good governance and transparency.
Ultimately, this article highlights the challenges Algeria has had to overcome with corruption in large infrastructure projects. It also illustrates how a renewed commitment to the fight against corruption can be the way to overcome these challenges and build a better future for the country. We pay tribute to the Algerian justice system for its hard work in this crucial undertaking.
OMSAC Press & Media Department