Seven Algerian businessmen investigated for corruption: Ennahar TV

Algerian authorities have seized the passports of seven businessmen under investigation over corruption allegations, the private Ennahar TV reported on Monday.

On Sunday, authorities also arrested Ali Haddad, a leading Algerian businessman who was part of the inner circle of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been facing mass protests for more than a month to resign.

Demonstrators in the North African country, an oil and gas producer, want a new generation of leaders to replace a ruling elite seen by many ordinary Algerians as out of touch and unable to jump-start a faltering economy hampered by cronyism.

No details were immediately available on the reported arrests.

Seeking to defuse the demonstrations, Bouteflika said on March 11 he was dropping plans for a fifth term. But he stopped short of stepping down immediately, to wait for a national conference on political change.

That further enraged protesters, prompting the army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, to step in by proposing last week to ask the constitutional council to see whether he is still fit for office.

Late on Sunday, Ennahar and El Bilad TV channels said that Bouteflika might resign this week. The government has not commented on the reports.

Source: News Agencies