A spokesman for the judiciary in Tunisia said on Thursday that authorities had arrested 14 people on suspicion of corruption in the phosphate industry because the Tunisian president went on a rampage last month to crack down on a key sector after the government took control.
Spokesman Mohsen al-Dali said the suspects included a former minister of state, the director of mining, the purchasing director of the Ministry of Industry and six directors.
President Gais Saeed fired the prime minister, paralyzed parliament and seized executive power on July 25 in a surprise move.
Saeed, who was elected president in 2019, promised to address corruption and said those involved in corruption in the phosphate sector should be held accountable and no one should escape the law.
Despite opposition from the moderate Islamist party, the largest party in parliament, Saeed received widespread popular support last month after years of economic stagnation and widespread corruption.
After Tunisia was one of the world’s phosphate producers before 2011, its market share declined due to disruptions in production and transportation due to the struggle of job-seeking youth.
Tunisia’s phosphate production reached 8.2 million tonnes in 2010, but fell to 3.1 million tonnes last year.
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