Since Toufik Hakkar was appointed as Sonatrach’s CEO in February 2020, we have endeavoured to key a close eye on his corrupt and gross mismanagement of the national oil company. Given the seemingly endless number of issues, we have long advocated that his dismissal would be in the best interests of both Sonatrach and the national economy. Like so many other dubious individuals at the top of the Algerian regime, however, he has survived and thrived because of his patrons.
However, the signs are that his end may be approaching. Investigations into why he did not accompany President Abdelmajid Tebboune on his recent trips to Russia and China have revealed that it was because he is currently subject to an Interdictions de sortie du territoire national (ISTN) and is therefore forbidden from leaving the country. Such is the secrecy that surrounds him, that we do not know when it was issued, or whether it is the first time that Hakkar has been subjected to one but we believe that it is.
Accounting to reliable sources, Hakkar is allegedly involved in a case of corruption and financial embezzlement which the security services are unofficially investigating. Unsurprisingly, this is taking place in the greatest secrecy and total opacity which has prevented any leak of information. We therefore do not know what of the numerous cases is specifically being investigated or which branch of the security services is involved.
We suspect that it is most likely coming from Army Chief of Staff, General Saïd Chengriha and his clan which, as Algeria Politics & Security has revealed this week, is currently involved in an escalating battle for supremacy with President Tebboune’s clan. There are strong rumours that the president’s powerful and influential advisor, Boualem Boualem, and other eminent members of his clan are trying to save Hakkar. They are trying to avoid legal proceedings which could inevitably lead to his dismissal and scandalous implications for those senior figures who have long protected him. Alternatively, given the extent and intensity of infighting with the regime, a deal could be done and the whole business may be temporarily hushed up.This excerpt is taken from our Algeria Politics & Security weekly intelligence report. Click here to receive a free sample copy. Contact email@example.com for subscription details.