News24

More contraband found at Ben Ali palace

2011-05-10 14:34

Tunis - Drugs, jewellery, archeological pieces and a gun were stashed at a palace in Carthage that belonged to the ousted Tunisian president, the official TAP news agency reported on Tuesday.

The discovery was made by a national commission charged with investigating corruption and embezzlement during the 23-year presidency of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in January following a popular revolt.

The find, made three days ago, included 40g of a substance that is "probably narcotics", jewellery stored in 169 envelopes, archeological pieces of "important value", and an American made machine gun, according to a commission statement.

Investigators also found £11 060.

On March 10, Tunisia's justice minister announced the discovery of 2kg of narcotics in the president's private office in Carthage.

The corruption commission previously said it found $27m at a Ben Ali palace in Sidi Bou Said, in the posh suburbs north of Tunis.

The recent inspection of the Carthage palace was conducted in the presence of representatives from the ministry of culture, the treasury, presidential security, anti-narcotics officials and jewellery experts, the statement said.

Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi were in May charged with "plotting against the internal security of the state", as well as murder and graft.

In April, the country's justice minister said the government was trying to have Ben Ali extradited from Saudi Arabia where he fled in mid-January.