Cabinet works to recover stolen funds, develop Sinai

Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has approved the formation of a national committee to retrieve funds smuggled abroad by members of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

The committee would also seek to locate funds hidden in Egypt. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mohamed Mahsoub Abdel Meguid said in a press conference Wednesday that the decision would be submitted to President Mohamed Morsy, who should then issue a presidential decree on the matter.

Qandil announced his intention to restructure the committee last week after meeting with committee members and several ministers, as well as Assem al-Gohary of the Illicit Gains Authority.

According to a Cabinet statement, after that meeting Qandil decided to add new members to the committee to represent the banking, political and popular sectors.

To date, Egypt has not been successful in recovering any of the stolen funds. Gohary told Al-Masry Al-Youm in May that “we have only managed to locate an estimated LE1 billion held in Swiss banks that was embezzled by 17 former officials, including former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons."

Gohary claimed that the government is aware of more funds owned by former officials currently held in other countries, but said that the authority has not yet ascertained their value or proprietors.

Abdel Meguid said that also on Wednesday, the Cabinet approved a law on Sinai development which would map areas to be targeted for development. The law stipulates that the Egyptian share in the capital for development projects should be no less than 55 percent, while foreign contribution was set at maximum 45 percent. Land would not be sold but allocated through a loan system.

The Sinai Bedouins Tribal Youth Union called on security officials to disclose information about Operation Eagle, and to prosecute officials who have been negligent or slow in protecting soldiers at the Rafah border crossing checkpoint.

In a meeting in Sheikh Zuwayed on Thursday evening, the union said the state must combat Sinai’s extreme poverty if it hopes to achieve stability in the peninsula.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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