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Sunday, 27 September 2020

Egypt's former chief auditor Hisham Geneina has 1-year sentence for 'false news' upheld

The prosecutor-general challenged Geneina’s statements as 'exaggerated'

Ahram Online , Thursday 27 Aug 2020
Hisham Geneina (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Hisham Geneina (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's New Cairo Misdemeanour Court on Thursday upheld a one-year suspended sentence for the former head of the country’s Central Auditing Organisation (CAO), Hisham Geneina, in addition to fining him EGP 20,000 on charges of spreading false information against the state.

Geneina was sacked in as top auditor of the country's main anti-corruption agency in 2016 after he made statements to the media saying that widespread graft had cost Egypt EGP 600 billion in the period from 2012 to 2015.

The state security prosecution said previously that Geneina’s claims about government corruption were inaccurate.

In addition, a statement issued by the general prosecutor’s office said that Geneina’s statements exaggerated the amount of corruption, claiming that the former auditor stated during investigations that those numbers included other years as well, and other reasons than just corruption.

In July 2016, Geneina was convicted in a lower court and given a one-year prison sentence, suspended by a EGP 10,000 bail payment, and a EGP20,000 fine. The former chief auditor challenged the ruling and in December 2016 the New Cairo Misdemeanour Appeal Court gave him a suspended one-year sentence.

Following the acceptance of the appeal for a retrial, the case was referred to the New Cairo Misdemeanour Court, which started its first session in July of this year. After three sessions it issued a ruling upholding the one-year suspended sentence on Thursday.

Geneina is currently serving a five-year sentence on a separate conviction in a military court in 2018.

The military prosecution charged him with "offensive statements towards the state" following his claims during an interview with the HuffPost Arabi news website that former military chief Sami Anan possessed documents containing state secrets and evidence relating to major events since 2011.

Geneina was a leading figure in Anan's short-lived 2018 presidential campaign, before Anan was barred from running in the elections by the National Elections Authority for not obtaining the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces as an active member of the military.

In April 2018, an Egyptian military court sentenced him to five years in prison for spreading false news about the armed forces and the country's internal affairs. The verdict was upheld by the military appeals court in March 2019.

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