Acting President Abdelkader Bensalah has fired Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, the head of the country’s largest oil company, Sonatrach, according to Algerian national television.
A new CEO, the 11th in 19 years, has been named: Rachid Hachichi has spent his entire career in the production division of the group. His sacked predecessor had been running Sonatrach since 2017.
Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour is the last high-level businessman involved in the investigations that followed the resignation of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Earlier, police had confirmed the arrest of Issad Rebrab, the richest businessman in Algeria, who was suspected of making false statements about remittances.
Founder of Cevital, a conglomerate present in the agribusiness, construction, iron and steel, distribution, electronics, and appliances; Issad Rebrab is the 1st fortune of Algeria and 6th in Africa, according to Forbes magazine.
The first private company in Algeria has expressed “surprise” after the temporary detention on Tuesday of its CEO Issad Rebrab and denied the accusations of false customs declarations weighing on him, according to a statement.
The detention of Issad Rebrab, along with four other billionaires, comes after army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah called on prosecutors to “accelerate the pace” of corruption investigations with people close to the circle.
Sonatrach, the Algerian hydrocarbon giant is crucial for the country’s economy. Hydrocarbons bring Algeria more than 95% of its external revenue and contribute 60% of the state budget. The country produces 1.2 million barrels a day. The oil and gas group has been shaken in recent years by a series of financial scandals that have been investigated in Algeria and abroad.