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Selective anti-corruption policy accusations unfounded, Premier tells HPR

Published the:  20/07/2017

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(TAP) - The government is waging an open war against corruption which is threatening the State and democracy, The President of the Government Youssef Chahed Thursday told a parliamentary hearing.

The government shouldered its responsibilities in fighting corruption and took exceptional measures based on an exceptional law to serve Tunisia's interests.

"We have the conviction that war on corruption - just like terrorism - calls for exceptional measures," Chahed said.

The spread of corruption undermines citizens' confidence in the State and its institutions, the Premier cautioned. Law will be enforced "without exception," he further said.

Selective anti-corruption policy accusations are unfounded, the Prime Minister said in another vein. Those who leveled such allegations wanted to defend the corrupt, he underlined.

War on corruption is not meant to settle political scores, Chahed highlighted.

"Since when smugglers who hurt the national economy and amassed wealth are looked upon as political opponents?" he said.

Youssef Chahed said, in this connection, the measures decided helped break up criminal networks. The State institutions joined efforts to ensure law is respected for "law is the pillar of a fair state. "

Smuggled goods worth hundreds of millions and hundreds of millions of foreign currency were found in the possession of those arrested and seized. The latter are also involved in customs and banking offences, money laundering and tax evasion.

"These people committed crimes against the country and the national community: this is how we handle the issue," the Prime Minister emphasised.

"Those who hide behind political arguments to defend corruption have to know this will not happen," Youssef Chahed warned. " A democracy that tolerates such political actors and grants them immunity is one that creates is own end. We need, as government and parliament, to protect our nascent democracy."

As part of the fight against corruption, smuggling and parallel trade, the Prime Ministry set up last September a security committee under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. The committee identified places where smuggled goods were stored across the country and raids followed as part of large-scale campaigns.

Since the launch of these campaigns in September 2016 up to last June, smuggled goods worth about one billion dinars were seized. In addition, legal proceedings were initiated in relation to customs and banking offences.

Action is likewise underway to dismantle corruption networks specialised in economic and financial crimes, the Prime Minister indicated.