On Tuesday, March 21, 2023, Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed the head of the “National Committee for Penal Reconciliation” from his position, noting that this body is considered one of his most important political projects since he decided to monopolize the authorities in the country in 2021.
A presidential decree was issued in the Official Gazette “terminating the assignment of Mr. Makram Benamna with the duties of the head of the National Committee for Penal Reconciliation.”
Saeed established this committee in 2022, and last November appointed its members. Their tasks are to conclude a penal reconciliation with businessmen involved in corruption before the 2011 revolution, and the Tunisian government prepared a list of them in 2012.
Reconciliation is based on concluding an agreement between those involved and the state on the basis of recovering the money they obtained in return for dropping the judicial prosecution.
The recovered funds are used for investments in marginalized areas of the country.
Saeed estimates that the total amount of money that the state must recover reaches 13.5 billion dinars (about 4.01 billion euros).
On Thursday, Saeed visited the committee’s headquarters in the capital, and said in a meeting with its members, “I don’t see anything at all… nothing significant has been achieved since the issuance of the decree regulating the penal reconciliation.”
He criticized what he described as “indolence,” stressing that “the people’s money must be returned to the people.”
“We are looking for loans from abroad, and the money is in Tunisia,” he said, referring to the government’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to obtain a loan worth about two billion dollars.
Saied seeks to complete his political project based on an enhanced presidential system and put an end to the parliamentary system that was approved following the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of the late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and put the country on a democratic transition path that was the only one in the region after the “Arab Spring” uprisings.