Tunisia ex-Minister of Agriculture jailed on corruption charges.

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A Tunisian court sentenced a former government minister and three other officials to prison as part of an investigation into suspected financial corruption, according to local media reports.

Mosaique FM radio channel reported that the investigative judge in the financial judicial court issued prison orders against former Minister of Agriculture Samir Taieb and three officials of the Ministry after investigation and hearing sessions that continued until Saturday morning.

The lawsuit includes suspicions of committing crimes against the laws of public procurement and money laundering.

Taieb, minister between 2016 and 2020, was detained with his advisor, three other officials of the bidding committee, and the agent of the company that established the deal.

The judiciary had also arrested a businessman and former minister Mehdi Ben Gharbia over suspected tax fraud and money laundering.

President Qais Saeed, who announced exceptional measures in the country in July, said that fighting corruption will be a priority in the new government’s work, led by Najla Bouden.

Meanwhile, the Presidency of the Assembly of People’s Representatives, headed by Rached Ghannouchi, issued a statement expressing its “deep concern about the dangerous repercussions of the unconstitutional presidential decision of September 22.”

Order 117 deprives assistants of their allowances and social and health coverage, which the Presidency described as a “grave breach” of Article 80 of the Tunisian Constitution.

The Presidency indicated that many advisers of the House of Representatives and parliamentary blocs are facing difficulties due to these illegal decisions.

It expressed its absolute solidarity with MP Hajer Bouhlel and Mustafa bin Ahmed “because of the systematic policy they were subjected to by depriving them of the right to treatment as an inherent right of citizenship and human rights.”

The Presidency also affirmed that the rights of the people’s representatives are guaranteed by the constitution and the law, stressing that the lawmakers are prepared to fight in order to establish the constitution and the rule of law.

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