Former ministers and steel tycoon face corruption charges

The Attorney General started investigations into four former state officials on Friday.

Former Minister of Interior Habib al-Adly, former Minister of Tourism Zoheirr Garranah, former Minister of Housing Ahmad al-Maghrabi, and the business tycoon and National Democratic Party leader Ahmad Ezz are being investigated.

Al-Adly faces charges of money laundering and profiteering. On 7 February the Money Laundering Combating Unit was notified by Banque Misr that a transaction that may have involved money laundering was carried out. Mohamed Fawzi, a partner in a contracting company, deposited LE4.5 million in October 2010 in al-Adly’s current account. The size of the sum and the identity of the person who deposited it raised doubts about the transaction's legality.

Al-Adly denied the charges and was sent to prison for 15 days pending further investigation.

Garranah was also interrogated over corruption charges. He faces charges relating to his decision to stop granting permits for new tourism companies, as he allegedly made exceptions and granted land to people close to him.

Garranah also denied the charges, saying he halted all permits, but the prosecution showed him documents carrying his signature and giving permits to certain businessmen, including Yassin Mansour, Mohamed Mansour, and Shahinaz al-Naggar. Garranah said he did not know anything about these documents and requested time to bring other documents to prove the charges wrong.

He will remain in custody for 15 days pending further investigation, and furthermore will face charges of granting land to people he knows at extremely low prices–as low as US$1 per meter.

Al-Maghrabi also faces corruption-related charges, accused of allocating 113 feddans in the 6th October city to Palm Hills Development, in which he is a partner. He denied the charges and requested time to get documents to prove his innocence. His lawyer, meanwhile, presented documents which he said disprove the charges.

Al-Maghrabi was sent to prison for 15 days pending further investigations, and will also be summoned to face other charges. These include the allegation that he helped Palm Hills Developments win the bid for Aswan's Amoun Village hotel (previously owned by Misr Travel) in an auction. He is also charged with facilitating the encroachment of land owned by the Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels.

Ezz meanwhile, is charged with the illegal acquisition of two permits to establish two steel factories in the free zone in Suez, which represents a waste of public money. Ezz said he has the biggest steel factory in the Middle East and deserves to be granted two permits.

He, too, asked for time to present documents to prove the falsity of the charges and  was also imprisoned for 15 days pending further investigation.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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