Court sentences former officials to prison

An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced three former officials to prison for squandering public funds, judicial sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Cairo Criminal Court sentenced former Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid to 15 years in absentia and fined him LE1.4 billion, steel mogul Ahmed Ezz to 10 years and former Industrial Development Authority Director Amr Assal to 10 years. The court directed both Ezz and Assal to return LE660 million to the government, and also revoked the licenses of Ezz Steel and the Egyptian Company for Sponge Iron.

Ezz and Assal attended the trial, which began in March, but Rachid left the country in February shortly before then-President Hosni Mubarak resigned.

Prosecutors accused Rachid and Assal of providing Ezz-run firms with free licenses for manufacturing sponge and billet iron. The licenses violated ministerial decrees that stipulate permits must be paid for and granted through a public bidding process.

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