Tunisian gov't acts to retrieve "smuggled funds and assets"

22:00, February 11, 2011      

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The Tunisian interim government decided Thursday to set up a series of "practical mechanisms" for the return of "smuggled funds and assets" illegally transferred abroad by the ousted president's family, said government spokesman after a cabinet meeting.

The cabinet meeting also set up a program to compensate the families of those who died or got wounded during the popular protests leading to the ouster of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, said Taieb Baccouche.

The families of victims of the trouble that erupted during the upheaval in the mining basin of Gafsa in 2008, and those of the security forces would also receive compensation, said Baccouche.

Baccouche also announced the arrest of gangs implicated in the latest violence throughout the country, saying data was available on people involved in criminal activities.

A group of armed individuals had been arrested Thursday by the security forces and the army in the city of El Kef, the country's official news agency TAP reported. The arrested were accused of being involved in the latest wave of violence, which hit the city last weekend and killed at least two people.

The same group was also accused of smuggling and corruption linked with relatives of Ben Ali, TAP reported.

The interim government, which is composed of technocrats following a major reshuffle aimed at cleansing it from members of the former ruling party RCD, is busy trying to overhaul the country's battered economy and re-establish stability following weeks of upheaval and violence.

In a recent interview, Iyadh Ben Achour, a respected jurist and the head of the political reform committee, said the country's first free elections should take place within six months in mid- July.

Source: Xinhua
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