The youngest minister in the history of Algeria is likely to languish for a long time in her cell. The charges against him are heavy. In addition to corruption, Houda Imane Feraoun, former Minister of Telecoms is being prosecuted for “squandering public funds”, “granting undue advantages” and “abuse of office”.
In the court of Sidi M’Hamed, after two days of trial concerning a case which caused the public treasury to lose nearly 40 billion dinars, the judge set the date of the verdict for October 18. At the heart of the trial stands Houda Feraoun, former Minister of Telecommunications.
The former young minister has taken a serious turn in old age, affirms our sources present on the spot. Houda Feraoun has been languishing in prison for more than 10 months. Despite a certain confidence that she wanted to show at the time of the indictment, Feraoun trembled when the prosecutor requested a sentence of eight years in prison against her.
University professor at the age of 34, Houda Feraoun complained to the judge yesterday of not having been able to speak with his defense. One thing that is not, however, among his rights. The former minister tried, however, somehow to restore his image, pleading his total innocence.
” I am innocent “, pleads Houda Feraoun
Very late during the night of Tuesday, following the closing of the pleadings, the floor was given by the judge to all the accused. The executives of Algeria Telecom, the representatives of Huawei and ZTE, and in particular Houda Feraoun, agree in saying the same thing.
” I am innocent “, pleads the ex-strong woman of ICT under the reign of Bouteflika. Feraoun also stated that « the public prosecutor brought new charges which were not in the file ”. Addressing the judge, she is indignant: “You saw for yourself that the one who accused me of having given the orders ended up changing his mind”.
The prosecutor notably accused Feraoun of not having lifted a finger to prevent the signatures which cost the public treasury 39 billion dinars. To this, Houda Feraoun responds by affirming that in his capacity as « Minister and President of the General Assembly, my powers stop at the annual report…, the law forbids me to intervene in transactions, to conclude them, and even to cancel them ”.
To conclude his defense, Houda Feraoun tries everything for everything. She declares, before the judge and the audience: ” One last word. Innocence. I will not ask to lift the freeze on my property and my assets because I do not own anything. I ask for innocence ”.
The defense of Feraoun rises
On the side of the defense of the third party, we do not mince words. Feraoun’s lawyers appear to be outraged. Their client faces eight years in prison. According to them, this is an injustice.
But customer « could have stayed in France or any country that harnessed her genius, but she found herself here in prison because of one of the accused. The latter said that she had given him instructions, whereas on that date he was not even chairman or managing director ”, launches lawyer Nabil Ouali.
The same lawyer goes on to say that « Today, the same person recanted and admitted that we had chosen the company for reasons of technological connection ”. Ouali wonders: “What did Feraoun do?” Mr. President, we are in front of a specialized pole, where the evidence is. Did she sign a contract? What did she conclude? She only has one document in which she asks to apply the law ”.