The fight against corruption was back on the table, with the Tunisian government taking conclusive decisions mainly to refer 21 high-ranking customs employees to compulsory retirement on suspected graft.
Government sources confirmed that the decisions fall in line with the anti-corruption campaign launched by Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed in 2017. They also signal administrative disciplinary measures and a direct message to any civil servant who contemplates illegal actions.
Tunisian Minister of Public Service Mohamed Abbou took the decision on the customs employees in consultation with Finance Minister Nizar Yaiche.
Moreover, Yaiche issued several effective decisions while the government addressed the Customs administration to implement the mandatory retirement move.
However, some political parties and rights organizations insisted on referring the employees to the judiciary.
According to leaks, some female employees are also suspected of involvement in corruption.
The latest moves were made shortly after granting Abbou a government mandate to access all information and documents from relevant ministries as part of the fight against graft.
In a related context, head of the Media and Communication Unit of the First Instance Court in Tunis Mohsen Dali ordered a jail term in the case of Yassin al-Shanoufi, a businessman and former presidential candidate, for his involvement in financial corruption and money laundering. He was also fined TND9 million (around USD3 million).
Shanoufi was arrested in 2017 during Chahed’s term, along with 10 prominent Tunisian businessmen on several charges including financial corruption, tax evasion, and smuggling.
Ennahdha leader Abdellatif al-Makki described the current government as qualified to tackle political and economic reforms as well as fighting corruption.
Earlier, Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh stressed his intention to hold the corrupt accountable.