Tunisian MP arrested on suspicion of corruption

The Tunisian authorities have arrested the parliamentarian Mehdi ben Gharbia, who was minister between 2016 and 2018, on suspicion of fraud and money laundering, according to the Tunisian court of first instance.

Ben Gharbia, a prominent businessman in the country, was admitted to hospital shortly after his interrogation and the arrest warrant, according to Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM. The court has ruled his arrest for five days while the investigation continues.

Tunisian MP arrested on suspicion of corruption
Tunisian MP arrested on suspicion of corruption

The MP’s lawyers have pointed out that Ben Gharbia “suffered from abnormal fatigue that required him to be transferred to the nearest public hospital,” and denounced that “his health has deteriorated as a result of the moral torture he has been subjected to , has deteriorated ”.

“We blame everyone who took part in this dishonest, targeted and politicized campaign against our client and who were supported by influential parties,” said a statement on the Tunisian news portal “Tunisien Numerique”.

They stressed that the MP was “the victim of a campaign of defamation, incitement and disclosure of personal data”, adding that the police operation “was based on someone else through whom they are trying to involve the customer in money laundering”. by a front company “.

Ben Gharbia, a member of the Bizerte constituency since the 2019 elections, was Minister for Relations with Constitutional Agencies, Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations from August 2016 to July 2018.

Authorities have arrested several MPs since President Kais Saied sacked the Prime Minister and suspended Parliament in July, leading to the removal of immunity from members of the legislature.

Saied approved the formation of the new government led by Najla Buden Romdhane last week, making it the first woman to hold the post of prime minister in the African country, a decision criticized by the Islamist Ennahda, the main party in parliament.

Saied, on the other hand, said that a framework for “real national dialogue” would be created in the next few days as various parties complained about their intention to seize power and not dispose of the political formations.

Tunisia was seen as a model of transition after the 2011 Arab Spring, but slow progress has led to growing public unrest. The economic crisis, corruption and, last year, dealing with the pandemic have contributed to saturation, which has once again led to political uncertainty.

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