The Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed of Tunisia, sacked its energy minister on Friday (August 31) over an allegation of corruption in the ministry, the government announced.
Corruption is like a plague affecting many African countries and preventing them from growing as expected.
A government which takes anti-graft cases seriously is taking a good step towards development. Tunisia is a country that has a bad history with corruption cases and why the last autocratic government was chased out of office to allow a democratic rule to charge of governance in the country.
Khaled Kaddour who was sacked along with other senior officials did not respond to the allegation at the time the sack was carried out.
The Prime minister, Youssef Chahed has given orders for a thorough investigation into the corruption in the ministry. He further ordered the merger of the energy and industry ministries according to reports from an official source to Reuters.
However, an official who was sacked along with Khaled denied ever getting involved in any corrupt practices and was determined to prove his innocence.
According to a government spokesman, Iyad Dahmani, the sacked minister and other officials were alleged of permitting a Tunisian investor to illegally explore one of Tunisia’s most important sites, the Halk Manzel Oilfield.
He was allowed without going through due process of licensing. Dahmani said the deal on the oilfield which is closed to the coastal city of Monastir also has undue tax privileges to it.
On the clampdown on corruption moved by the country last year, Kaddour happens to be the first minister to be hit by the anti-graft campaign of the administration.
The Secretary of State for Energy, Hachem Hmidi who is among the other four denied the accusations and was committed to clearing his name from the whole corruption saga in the ministry. He made it clear from his statements:
“My exit from the government helps me to devote myself to the case and prove that I am innocent of these malicious charges.”
The other sacked officials named in the allegation were the director general of illegal affairs in the ministry, the head of the national oil company- ETAP and the director general of fuel.
It will be recalled that corruption was the major reason for the revolt against the Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime in 2011. Today, many Tunisians are yet to see any difference since the transition into a democratic government the same year with a free and fair election process.
In July this year, parliament passed a law to compel senior officials to make their assets public in a bid to fight against unlawful enrichment when in government.
The committee on anti-corruption in the country agreed to the widespread of corruption in all sectors of business leading to an annual loss in billions of dollars to the government.
Following the sack of Tunisia energy minister and in the drive to rid the country of corruption, a big figure in the political circle in the country is currently under investigation for corruption accusation.