From Jan. to Dec.: Egypt combating corruption, bribery


Wed, 26 Dec 2018 - 09:02 GMT

Egyptian currency - Reuters

Egyptian currency - Reuters

CAIRO - 25 December 2018: The Administrative Control Authority (ACA) – the regulatory body responsible for enforcing laws and regulations within state bodies – has ordered the arrest of numerous officials over the last year, within the framework of the leadership’s fight against corruption.

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 Today displays a number of top officials who were arrested and retried over corruption and bribery charges in 2018.

Former Menoufia governor

A judicial court in Giza sentenced Nov. 12 former Monufia Governer Hesham Abdel Baset to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of LE 15 million.

The two other defendants in the case were found not guilty and the money seized from them was returned.

The three defendants were charged with taking bribes worth LE 27 million, LE 450,000 of which were in exchange for implementing a set of projects under the government’s supervision.

Abdel Baset and two businessmen were arrested in January 2018 after ACA managed to record phone calls proving the governor agreed to take LE 2 million as a bribe in return for land licenses.

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

Former Helwan governor

In February 2018, Cairo Criminal Court sentenced former Helwan governor Hazem el-Qowaidi to five years in prison and a fine of LE 50,000 over receiving bribes during his tenure.

Qowaidi was arrested in March 2017 over accusations of receiving a bribe to illegally transfer government-owned land in Maadi to a private company.

He was also accused of receiving a Mercedes worth LE 1 million in return for the illegal transfer of an 800-square-meter land plot in Southern Cairo to a car company.

Deputy Governor of Alexandria

Cairo Criminal Court scheduled the trial of former deputy governor of Alexandria Souad al-Kholy along with six other defendants for January 30, 2019, over charges of bribery.

Security forces arrested Kholy in August in the General Office of Alexandria Governorate, overcharges including bribery and damage of public money.

Investigations confirmed that the deputy has received money, material gifts and gold jewelry worth more than LE 1 million ($56,484) from businessmen in return for exploiting her powers, which caused losses of about LE 10 million from the public money.

Head of Giza's Al-Haram district

Earlier in December, Major General Ibrahim Abdel Aaty, head of Giza’s Al-Haram district, and three other defendants were referred to the Criminal Court over bribery accusations.

Investigations revealed that Abdel Aaty negotiated with three construction companies to receive a bribe consisting of three apartments, bank checks and an amount of money, according to the state-owned Al-Ahram. He received LE 700,000, according to the investigation.

Abdel Aaty was caught red-handed after the prosecution carried out legal procedures that allowed the police to record some of his negotiations with the companies, according to the investigation.

The district head received a bribe from the three companies to halt legal procedures that had to be carried out against some of the buildings that violate the law in Al-Haram district, according to the investigation.

The accused major general denied all accusations. The prosecution listened to the representatives of the three construction companies, and formally accused Abdel Aaty of receiving bribes, misusing his authority and deliberately failing to perform his duties.

Head of the Customs Authority

Also in December, General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek referred former Head of the Customs Authority Gamal Abdel Azim to the Criminal Court over misusing his powers and demanding bribes.

Abdel Azim was arrested in July over accusations of receiving a financial bribe of LE 1 million from an importer of textiles in exchange for the termination of customs clearance procedures for certain imported goods.

On Aug. 7, Minister of Finance Mohmed Ma’it decided to appoint Kamal Hassan Negm as head of the Customs Authority. Negm was the head of the Central Administration of the Eastern Province in the customs operations sector.

Earlier in November, President Sisi met with Major General Sherif Seif el-Din, chairman of the ACA, to discuss the national anti-corruption strategy.

ACA announced that its efforts during December resulted in seizing LE 12.8 billion, along with arresting 30 defendants accused of bribery and embezzlement.

In a statement, ACA added that an international network of human trafficking, which included 20 Egyptian, Arab and European defendants, was uncovered earlier in December.

ACA announced on the same day that a tourism company owner, a lawyer and a mechanic who claimed to be a lawyer were arrested for seizing LE 25 million using fake documents. All three defendants were arrested pending investigations.

ACA stated that the three defendants managed to fabricate documents that allowed them to drop the debt of the tourism company amounting to LE 25 million at one of the private banks.

In the same context, the ACA also announced that several officials of South Cairo Electricity Distribution Company and Omrania neighborhood in Giza were arrested as a result of receiving LE 200,000 as a bribe.



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