In the state residence of Moretti, on the west coast of Algiers which hosts a good part of the nomenclature, villa 143 was the epicenter of meetings of senior officials and businessmen who came to conclude their business or establish new ones. contacts under the guidance of the hostess, “Madame Maya”.
When el maâlma (the boss), whose trial opens on September 30, is arrested with her two daughters in July 2019 by the gendarmes, they find at her home, hidden in several walls of her villa, no less than 12 billion Algerian centimes ( approximately 797,000 euros), 270,000 euros, 30,000 dollars, 17 kilograms of gold jewelry and several travel documents …
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The scale of identity theft
In informed Algerian circles, the lady, whose real name is Nachinachi Zoulikha-Chafika, was known to be “the hidden girl”, to understand “illegitimate”, of the deposed president Abdelaziz Bouteflika whom he would have had following a hidden relationship with a Swiss woman. To the latter, whose love life is a real mystery (he had only officially married in 1999 to the daughter of an Algerian diplomat, but did not live with her), we had attached many legends about his close and intimate, but many did not know anything about his family universe, apart from the fact that his intimate circle was concentrated around his mother (deceased in 2009) and his brothers and sisters: Saïd (in prison), Nacer of his real name Abderrahim , Abdelghani, lawyer who lives in Paris, Mustapha (deceased in 2010) and Fatma-Zohra who until today takes care of the ex-president in his nursing home in Zéralda, west of Algiers.
Deceptions are legion in a country padlocked by bureaucracy: it is better to know someone in administrations, banks, universities … And if not, some go deeper into the cesspool of privileges and pass themselves off as the cousin, the brother or relative of a high dignitary. Dozens of cases of usurpation of office and identity are handled annually by the Algerian courts, demonstrating the extent of the phenomenon.
But the case of “Madame Maya” goes far beyond the “ordinary” cases of identity theft.
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” Take care of her. She is part of the president’s family ”
It started in the early 2000s, says the daily El Watan, when, taking advantage of the fact that Bouteflika knew her father, a veteran of the War of Independence, she was able to meet the Head of State. Not much is known about her past, but some sources assure that “Madame Maya” was already in business in several regions of the country.
During this private audience with President Bouteflika, she complains that the wilaya (department) of Chlef (west of Algiers) has blocked its project for a leisure park. Bouteflika promises that his problem will be resolved quickly and 24 hours after the interview at the presidential palace, the private secretary of President Mohamed Rougab invites him to return to the presidency to tell him that she has obtained an appointment with the wali ( prefect) of Chlef, Mohamed Ghazi.
“Mohamed Rougab introduced him to the workings of the State, with his magic formula: Take care of her. She is part of the raïs family [président] », Note again El Watan. The lady obtains the authorization for her leisure park in Chlef, and is indeed received by the wali Ghazi (who will become minister then and is continued, in particular, in the business of the lady) as “member of the family of the president” .
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1.5 million euros in real estate in Spain
” [Elle] had just entered the business world. Over the years, its address book has been strengthened by the contacts of many walis, heads of daïra [sous-préfets], ministers, etc., thanks to nudges of Mohamed Rougab, who introduced him to the workings of the State, ”explains El Watan. Mohamed Rougab, “black box” of the presidency under Bouteflika, is also required by the defense of “Madame Maya” to come and testify at her trial.
Business is rolling for “Madame Maya”, who offers land to Chlef, luxury cars, villas in the upscale districts of Hydra and Benaknoun on the heights of Algiers, one of which is rented to an agency UN, and the famous villa of Moretti for 200,000 euros; it is also investing 1.5 million euros in real estate in Spain, one of the favorite destinations of the new rich Algerians, alongside Dubai, to protect their fortunes.
“Businessmen and state officials come to visit her to intercede on their behalf with his father President. For a job, for a market, for any service, ”testifies an anonymous source familiar with the matter. According to Algerian media, each “service” was expensive, which would explain the fortune of the one that the Algerian press qualifies as the “princess of Moretti” and who benefited from a police guard offered by the boss of the police of the then, Abldeghani Hamel, now in prison for corruption.
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Carried away by the anti-corruption wave
After the episode of Chlef where she won her case in 2006 for her leisure park, her business turned to the capital of western Algeria, Oran. In 2017, on the recommendation of the Wali of Chlef, Mohamed Ghazi, who in the meantime became Minister of Labor, “Madame Maya” contacted the Wali of Oran, Abdelghani Zaalane. She wants to open a mini-market in the city and tries to convince the wali to “help” an importer of frozen meat to find land for its future installations.
This umpteenth maneuver of the influential lady will cost him dearly. Abdelghani Zaalane, very close to Saïd Bouteflika (it is he, as campaign manager for a fifth term, who will submit the ousted president’s candidacy file in March 2019), alerts the president’s brother. The latter denies that it is the hidden daughter of his older brother and asks the secret services to investigate the “Madame Maya” case. The latter was actually arrested in 2017… before being quickly released. A reprieve until July 2019 when she is swept away, with her two daughters, by the anti-corruption campaign carried out in the wake of the popular movement of February 22 which brought down the Bouteflika system.
On September 30, therefore, the trial of “Madame Maya” for “money laundering within the framework of an organized criminal association”, “complicity in the abuse of office”, “request and acceptance of undue advantages by resorting to a public official ”and“ complicity in the granting of undue advantages ”, risks offering new revelations on the empire of privileges under the reign of Bouteflika. Especially since, in this trial, no less than fifteen people are being prosecuted, including the two ex-walis and ex-ministers Abdelghani Zaalane and Mohamed Ghazi (both already in prison), the former boss of the police Abdelghani Hamel, also in prison for several corruption cases, a former deputy, etc.
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