FILE – Safwat al-Sherif
CAIRO – 9 September 2018: Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Sunday former Speaker of the Egyptian Shura Council Safwat al-Sherif for three years in prison, and a fine worth LE 99,049, 974 ($5.5 million) over charges of illicit gains.
The Egyptian Shura Council was abolished by the 2014 Constitution, following the ousting of former Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi.
The court has acquitted Sherif’s son Ihab of all charges.
In June, the defense for the former speaker of the Shura Council Safwat al-Sherif said al-Sherif gave up four pieces of land in Fayed City in Ismailia governorate, which were worth LE 44 million ($2.5 million), seeking reconciliation with the government.
According to a memorandum submitted by the Illicit Gains Authority to the Criminal Court, the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General obtained LE 179 million from al-Sherif out of LE 304 million, obligating him to pay only LE 124 million at the moment.
The defense previously submitted official papers proving that all the procedures taken in regards to the properties of al-Sherif and his family members are legal.
The court canceled in 2017 the decision to jail al-Sherif for five years, adding a fine of LE 2 million. The court also decided to restart the trial again in another court.
The Reconciliation Law amendment of Article 18B of the Criminal Procedure Law, issued in October 2015, stipulates that it is permissible to reconcile with defendants accused of criminal offenses and misdemeanors punishable by law after payment of a fine; the government would receive smuggled money in exchange for dropping the charges the defendants face.
New amendments to the Illicit Gains Authority Law passed during 2015 gave defendants listed in the assets-freeze an opportunity to reconcile with the state. It was mentioned that in return for reconciliation with the state, all charges against them would be dropped.
The new amendments presented a good opportunity for several Mubarak-era figures and businessmen; however, not all of them succeeded to meet the mentioned criteria by the state.
Safwat al-Sherif, 85, is a former politician who served in several high-level posts during the era of the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who was ousted in February 2011. The political posts included the Minister of Information, the Secretary General of the National Democratic Party (NPD), and the head of the Supreme Press Council.