FILE - Parliament General Assembly
CAIRO – 10 July 2018: In light of the Administrative Control Authority's (ACA) anti-corruption crackdown, a number of parliamentarians push for a national strategy to combat corruption.
On Monday, the ACA arrested Head of Egypt’s Customs Authority, Gamal Abdel Azeem, over receiving a bribe of LE 1 million by a textile importer in order to help him smuggle an imported shipment.
For his part, Medhat al-Sharif, undersecretary of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Parliament, said that the national strategy to combat corruption has been adopted by Parliament since 2014 during the tenure of former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab but then was overlooked by his successor Sherif Ismail.
Calling for the implementation of the said strategy, Sherif reckoned that the strategy must be buoyed up by a league of legislatives to facilitate the ACA and other relevant bodies' mission in purging the country of corruption.
During the Parliament’s first session, Sheirf added that there was an extant bill, which was submitted earlier to the Parliament’s speaker and was mainly concerned with providing legal protection to people that come forward to report corruption cases, adding that the bill was put on hold pending the pertinent security authorities’ approval.
He pointed out that there is another anti-corruption draft law that imposes severe penalties on corruption criminals.
Also, MP Mostafa Bakry said that the efforts of the Administrative Control Authority asset to the country’s seriousness in clamping down on corruption.
Bakry added: "unfortunately, the recent arrest of the customs official over charges of corruption shows that the anti-corruption strategy is not comprehensive and is not effectively enforced."
“Coordination amongst all senior leaders in the state is needed to ensure that only qualified people are in charge of governance at all levels,” Bakry stressed.
Aligning with Bakry, Mohamed Badrawi, member of the parliamentarian committee of the Economic Affairs, called for the need to wisely select the good leaders in charge of the country’s key and influential institutions, particularly the economic ones.
Badrawy said that corruption is ramified and deeply rooted in the Egyptian society and, therefore, we need a strategy that consists of more effective anti-corruption legislations and procedures.
Praising the ACA’s efforts in the face of rampant corruption, he further explained that corruption has exhausted the state’s resources, calling for eliminating bureaucracy that encourages and enriches the prevalence of corruption.
On Sunday, customs officials at Cairo International Airport foiled an attempt to smuggle a large amount of medicine and silver artifacts by eight persons, including airport staff and pharmaceutical company owners, to evade taxes worth about LE 15 million.
An inspection officer revealed that the defendants stated in the customs clearance documents that the medicine and silver artifacts were for personal use.
Recently, customs officials at Cairo International Airport foiled numerous smuggling attempts carried out in cooperation with airport staff.
Bribery and corruption have been rife in Egypt for long decades and were among the main causes for the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has always stressed 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 108th out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index, scoring 34 points, down two points compared to 2015. A score of zero is highly corrupt while 100 is very clean.