President Tebboune's youngest daughter at the centre of a major scandal

A terse press release from the Presidency of the Republic announces the dismissal of the head of the General Directorate of Protocol "for serious misconduct and violation of professional ethics". This dismissal conceals many things, including a love affair with the youngest daughter of the President of the Republic 
Abdelmadjid Tebboune con su esposa Fatima-Zohra y sus hijas Saloua (izquierda) y Maha (derecha)
Abdelmadjid Tebboune with his wife Fatima-Zohra and daughters Saloua (left) and Maha (right)
  1. Involvement of the Algerian ambassador in Cairo

He was considered the most loyal member of President Tebboune's inner circle. Mohammed Bouakkaz, a civil servant who loyally served, as chief of protocol, former Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, now in prison, and his successor Abdelmadjid Tebboune, for a brief period of three months, before being dismissed by Ahmed Ouyahia, was called upon the day after Tebboune's election as head of the Algerian state to assume the functions of adviser to the President of the Republic in charge of the General Directorate of Protocol. So far, everything has gone well for this trusted man of the head of state, except for a few frictions with other members of the presidential entourage, in particular the president's private secretary, Amirouche Hamadache, over trivialities resulting from jealousy between henchmen. 

On Wednesday 5 June, the sky came crashing down. Mohammed Bouakkaz was summarily dismissed from the office of the President of the Republic. "The President of the Republic, Mr Abdelmadjid Tebboune, today dismissed Mr Mohammed Bouakkaz, adviser to the President of the Republic in charge of the General Directorate of Protocol, for serious misconduct and violation of professional ethics", announced a communiqué from the Presidency of the Republic which, as usual, was reproduced without the slightest comment in the Algerian media. No attention was paid to the reason for the dismissal of this close friend of the President. However, the reason is very serious. The press release states: "Serious misconduct and breach of professional ethics".  

What is meant by serious misconduct and violation of professional ethics, and what professional ethics has Mohammed Bouakkaz violated in terms of protocol? The regime's media proxies, some of whom pose as opponents and enjoy the status of political refugees, have come to Tebboune's rescue, putting forward reasons as ridiculous as they are absurd. They range from professional misconduct during President Tebboune's trip to Khenchela in the east of the country to... a love affair with a female presidential official. This last point is the Gordian knot of the whole affair. 

Following an investigation into Bouakkaz's relationship with Mrs Farida Sellal, wife of former Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, investigators from the General Directorate of Internal Security, which for the past week has been officially headed by General Abdelkader Haddad, alias Nacer El-Djen (the devil), have turned their attention to a more sulphurous relationship between Maha, the youngest daughter of the President of the Republic, and her father's chief of protocol. 

Thus we come to understand that the serious misdemeanours cited as the reason for Bouakkaz's dismissal are nothing more than services rendered to the wife of his former boss, Abdelmalek Sellal. A simple test of loyalty. Mrs Farida Sellal travels a lot between Algiers, Istanbul and Dubai. She needs Mohamed Bouakkaz's help at airport customs. Her exaggerated interventions end up attracting the attention of the DGSI delegation at Algiers international airport. The beginning of the investigation was facilitated by the protocol director's adversaries, who led directly to Bouakkaz's love affair with Maha, the president's youngest daughter. Some sources claim that she is pregnant by her beau. This is what provoked President Tebboune's anger. 

Mohamed Bouakkaz junto al presidente Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Mohammed Bouakkaz with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune

Involvement of the Algerian ambassador in Cairo

Things did not stop there. The shockwave reached the Algerian ambassador in Cairo. Hassan Rabehi, who had just presented his credentials to the Egyptian foreign minister on Friday 7 January, was summoned to Algiers 24 hours later. A first in the annals of world diplomacy. 

As soon as he arrived at Algiers airport, his diplomatic passport was taken away, along with his mobile phones and computer equipment. Without waiting for the Foreign Minister to tell him the news, he was informed by DGSI agents. They relieved him of his duties and took him directly from the airport to the notorious Benaknoun Main Operations Centre (MOC), high above Algiers. There, he was subjected to a harsh interrogation about his relationship with the affair of the president's daughter and the protocol director. Sources indicate that he is in possession of compromising video recordings of Maha Tebboune.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who began his first term in office with the scandal of his son Khaled's involvement in corruption, for which he was remanded in custody for more than a year, will now have to overcome the scandal of his youngest daughter, which has spread like wildfire in the public arena.