Former minister, Marouane Mabrouk linked to ex-dictator Ben Ali was jailed for alleged financial corruption.

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Marouane Mabrouk, the former son-in-law of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (who passed away in 2019) and the head of one of Tunisia’s largest groups, which includes Géant, Monoprix, Orange, and Banque BIAT, has been given a five-day renewable detention order. He is suspected of corruption in the management of a company that was confiscated by the state. This investigation was opened more than 10 years ago into public funds that were looted under Ben Ali’s regime. According to the spokesman for the Court of First Instance, Mohamed Zitouna, the investigators suspect a “crime of taking control of a company to which the State contributes capital”. He also added that the company in question was the Saïda Food Group which produces cakes and chocolates. Abderrahim Zouari, the former Minister of Transport and Tourism under Ben Ali, is also subject to a five-day renewable detention order. He is suspected of taking advantage of his position to obtain benefits.

Marouane Mabrouk, the former husband of Cyrine Ben Ali, one of the daughters of the former dictator (1987-2011) from a first marriage, has been imprisoned over allegations of corruption in a public contract. Mr. Mabrouk is a co-owner of the Mabrouk family business, which also controls the Orange Tunisia operator. This business was launched a year before the democratic revolution that toppled Ben Ali in 2011 and marked the start of the Arab Spring. Following the revolution, Mr. Mabrouk’s assets were seized by the government and transferred to the Karama Holding fund, which manages all the ill-gotten gains of the Ben Ali clan. The imprisonment came after a non-governmental organization filed a complaint, suspecting corruption in a public contract.

In March 2022, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied established a “criminal reconciliation” commission to replenish the country’s coffers, which were 80% in debt. This commission allowed for the dropping of legal proceedings in exchange for the payment of penalties or the completion of major projects.

However, in March 2023, Mr Saied dismissed the head of the commission due to his failure to collect the expected amount of 4 billion euros, as estimated by an official report.

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