Cairo Criminal Court on Thursday postponed to 28 April its consideration of the case in which former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy, five former Petroleum Ministry officials and fugitive businessman Hussein Salem are charged with dishonesty and poor job performance after they allegedly sold the country’s resources to Israel at below-market prices for great personal profit.
Prosecution lawyer Tamer al-Faragani said Salem is a wealthy and influential man who, with Fahmy’s assistance, continuously attempted to mix public and private funds to achieve his own interests through the export of gas to Israel through his East Mediterranean Gas company.
He pointed out that Fahmy unilaterally approved the deal and the sale of gas at low prices while imposing penalty clauses on the Egyptian side to ensure its implementation. He then demanded maximum punishment for the defendants.
Earlier this week, Egypt halted gas exports to Israel citing commercial reasons, saying Israel was not meeting its financial obligations under the old contract. The gas pipeline that carries gas to Israel has been blown up 14 times since the outbreak of the January revolution. Those responsible for the bombings remain unknown.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm