The Criminal Unit specializing in the fight against financial and economic crime near the court of Sidi M’hamed opened, this Wednesday morning, the file of the former Minister of Relations with Parliament, Tahar Khaoua.
In pre-trial detention since June 2021, the former Minister of Relations with Parliament from 2015 to 2018, Tahar Khaoua, is being prosecuted for corruption in a case of abuse of power for the purpose of obtaining undue advantages and extortion. But also of defamation and threat whose victims are two entrepreneurial brothers from the wilaya of Batna, according to the Arabic-speaking media Ennahar Online.
Corruption: ex-minister Khaoua accused of extortion
The facts of this case date back to 2016, when Tahar Khaoua decided to invest in one of the projects of the two entrepreneurs, concerning the construction of around sixty villas in Batna. The former minister had initially paid the sum of 16.5 billion centimes and was subsequently to pay the remainder of the amount of the investment to the two brothers.
However, Tahar Khaoua had taken advantage of his position as minister to threaten the two entrepreneurs. And this, by forcing them to return to him a sum amounting to 25 billion centimes, whereas he had invested only 16.5 billion centimes at the start.
Moreover, the former minister had extorted an important project from the two brothers. Indeed, it is a private school in Batna whose value amounts to more than 2 billion centimes. With school equipment amounting to more than 3 billion cents and school buses to more than 2 billion cents.
To seize this school, Tahar Khaoua would have forced the two brothers to grant him their school establishment free of charge as well as all of its equipment and buses. And this, through a sales contract in the name of his son.
Subsequently, the former minister would have rented the private school to the two brothers for the sum of 840 million centimes for the year 2018-2019. And for more than a billion for the year 2019-2020. While on the rental contract, the sum declared amounts to 120 million centimes annually.
“I am a merchant and a politician par excellence”, launches Tahar Khaoua to the judge
Before the judge of the Criminal Division specializing in the fight against financial and economic crime at the court of Sidi M’hamed, the former minister Tahar Khaoua rejected all the charges against him. Affirming that he comes from a revolutionary family and that his father was a pious merchant.
The former minister did not hesitate to trace his course of studies, in particular obtaining a doctorate and a magister. But also his career as a trader and investor. During his audience, he also returned to his career as a politician when he held the post of Minister for Relations with Parliament. “I am a merchant and a politician par excellence”, he launched to the judge.
Regarding the case related to the two entrepreneurs, Tahar Khaoua denied their accusations. Assuring to have invested a sum of 25 billion centimes in the project of construction of villas. According to him, in 2018, one of the two investors had started the sale of the villas without warning him. And when Khaoua had claimed his dues for the investment, he had accused him of abuse of office because he already held the post of minister.
Soon after, he continued, the investor allegedly offered him real estate in exchange for his investment. It was a private school and three villas, Khaoua revealed, adding that he later discovered that the property was mortgaged.
Asked by the judge about the threats made against the said investor, Khaoua assured that he had never threatened him. Claiming that he only wanted to recover his investment. Regarding the contract registered in the name of his son, the former minister justified himself by explaining that being married to two women, he wanted to be fair to his sons.