Update: Sultan says Shafiq must return to Egypt, face trial, after judge puts former PM on airport watch list

A judge investigating corruption at the Cooperative Housing Association for Military Pilots has put former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq on an airport watch list for involvement in the case, meaning he would be detained if he tried to enter the country.

"The investigative judge decided to put General Ahmed Shafiq's name on the watch and travel ban lists based on investigations over his illegal allocation of 40,000 square meters of land … to Alaa and Gamal Mubarak," Reuters quoted Judge Osama al-Saidi as saying.

Shafiq left the country and flew to Abu Dhabi two days after he lost the presidential elections in June. Since then, the Shafiq campaign has released statements claiming that the former candidate is preparing to return to Egypt and launch a new political party, but analysts doubt these claims.

Saidi put Shafiq on the watch list following investigations in a complaint filed by former MP Essam Sultan against the former prime minister. In May Sultan, the vice president of the Wasat Party, accused Shafiq of profiteering and corruption in his illegal allocation of 40,000 meters of Pilots Association-owned land in the Bitter Lakes region to Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, the sons of Egypt's toppled president, at preferential rates. 

Shafiq was chair of the Pilots Association at that time.

Sultan said that Shafiq had sold 40,238 square meters of land to Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, the sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Sultan alleged that the sale was for LE0.75 per square meter, while the real value set by the government was LE8 per square meter.
The investigations into the accusations began in late June. A panel at the Illicit Gains Authority reviewed documents submitted by the association's board and found that Shafiq was responsible for the land allocation, which took place in 1990 while he headed the association.

He was also found responsible for the subsequent sale of the allocated land. The panel found that the sale contract mentioned a land space larger than what was allocated.

The panel's report supported the outcome of investigations by regulatory authorities and testimonies by the association’s board members.

Investigations may also probe possible document forgery relating to the allocation.

Shafiq denied all charges and has accused Sultan of being associated with the former regime. Sultan responded by saying he hoped Shafiq would return to Egypt to "to face a fair trial and present evidence on the accusations he made against me." 

Sultan requested all those who doubt that Shafiq sold land lots for peanuts to Gamal and Alaa Mubarak to add their voices to him, and demand that Shafiq should return to Egypt and appear before an investigating judge to ward off the charge himself.
Writing on his official Facebook page, Sultan requested Shafiq  to return such land and any other funds gained from it to the state, saying deputies in parliament and candidates for elections should safeguard the money of the Egyptian people.

Shafiq supporter Ahmed Abdel Ghany blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the charges.

"I warn them to not touch General Shafiq when he comes back or else civil war will break out," he told Reuters.

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