Why former Menoufia governor stands trial


Sat, 09 Jun 2018 - 01:09 GMT

The first court hearing of Menoufia governor, Hesham Abdel Baset and two businessmen kicked off June 9, 2018 over corruption charges - Egypt Today

The first court hearing of Menoufia governor, Hesham Abdel Baset and two businessmen kicked off June 9, 2018 over corruption charges - Egypt Today

CAIRO – 9 June 2018: Giza Criminal Court held on Saturday the first trial session to the Menoufia governor, Hesham Abdel Baset, and two businessmen over corruption and bribery charges.

The first court hearing of Menoufia governor, Hesham Abdel Baset and two businessmen kicked off June 9, 2018 over corruption charges - Egypt Today

The two businessmen admitted bribing the Menoufia governor in return for assigning the number of projects carried out by the province to a company owned by one of the accused, and facilitate the receipt of works and the speed of disbursement of financial dues.

When did the case begin?

Menoufia Governor Hesham Abdel Baset and two businessmen were arrested on January 2018 after the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) managed to record phone calls by the governor proving he agreed to take LE 2 million as a bribe in return for land licenses.

FILE - Governor of Monufia Hesham Abdel Baset

According to security sources, the governor was under the ACA’s surveillance during the last period until he was detected to be involved in a number of corruption cases. The ACA then referred the governor to the public prosecution for investigation.

Most notable corruption incidents unveiled by the ACA

The ACA’s efforts were very fruitful in the last years and prosecuted several high-profile cases which led to a noticeable decline in corruption incidents. Egypt Today provides a quick summary of the most notable corruption cases unveiled lately by the ACA. The ACA is an anti-corruption independent body and reports directly to Egypt’s Primer.

In April 2016, the Cairo Criminal Court sent former Agriculture Minister Salah el-Din Mahmoud Helal and his office manager to 10 years in prison each on corruption charges.

The prosecution said in a court session that Helal and his office manager had accepted bribes, including a luxury home, membership at an exclusive sports club, clothing from high-end fashion stores and mobile phones.

In January 2017, former State Council Secretary-General Wael Shalaby committed suicide while in custody after being arrested for alleged corruption.

This incident came days after a procurement manager at the State Council, Gamal al-Laban, was arrested and charged with receiving bribes worth millions of Egyptian pounds.

Lately in May 2018, ACA detained a number of high-profile officials over charges of corruption. The suspects, including the chairperson of the Food Industries Holding Company (FIHC), his office manager, the Ministry of Supply’s media advisor, spokesperson and representative in parliament, were accused of accepting over LE 2 million in bribes from a private food company in return for obtaining rights for supplying goods to the ministry.

In Ismailia, the ACA arrested the technical director of the governorate’s real estate registry office who was found to have been misusing his position in order to legalize an illegal ownership of some citizens’ plots of lands.

Meanwhile in Fayoum, a number of officials serving governmental bodies were also arrested on charges of facilitating the misappropriation of plots of land for some citizens.

A representative from a tourist company was also arrested for bribing an employee from the Ministry of Manpower in exchange for money to get 64 people included in the government-sponsored pilgrims travel list.

In the Oncology Department of the main university hospital in one of the governorates, two nurses were arrested for taking drugs worth about LE 1.5 million for profiteering purposes and another auditor for embezzling LE 380,000 that were taken out from the salaries of the medical staff at the hospital.

The ACA also arrested an employee at the Customs Authority who was charged with accepting bribery from a representative of a company – which is in a legal dispute with the authority – for leaking classified documents that can be used in favor of the company that the Authority is legally suing.

In Gharbeya, the director of the contracts department at the housing directorate of the governorate was arrested on charges of accepting bribes from the head of the office of a national newspaper in the governorate to increase the number of the newspapers’ advertisements from the directorate instead of its affiliated online portal.

Also, the ACA managed to arrest staffers at the Ain Spkhna port on charges of seeking briberies in order to facilitate the entry of large shipments of electronic devices to Egypt by defrauding documents.

Bribery and corruption have been rife in Egypt for long decades and was one of the main causes of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

Sisi orders strict measures to crack down any violation

President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi always asserted on applying strict measures within the government institutions to crack down any violation. He hailed the role played by the ACA in different occasions.

Egypt ranked 117th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, scoring 32 points, down two points compared to 2016. A score of zero is highly corrupt while 100 is very clean.

Transparency International, the leading civil society organization fighting corruption worldwide, released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index in February.



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