Egypt’s top auditor Hisham Geneina was sacked on Monday by a presidential decree, hours after State Security Prosecution issued a statement accusing him of making false claims about widespread government corruption.
Geneina, who was appointed by El-Sisi’s predecessor Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, had alleged in statements to local media last year that Egypt’s coffers had lost LE600 billion (about $76 billion) between 2012 and 2015 due to government corruption.
El-Sisi has stressed that fighting corruption is a policy priority.
Since taking office, Geneina has on more than one occasion reported widespread corruption in some of Egypt’s most powerful institutions, including the police, the judiciary and intelligence agencies.
State Security prosecution said in its statement on Monday that Geneina had exaggerated the sums lost to corruption by harking back to violations prior to 2012, and that he had abused his position as head auditor in gathering documents to make his case, charges on which it would “confront” Geneina.
The president issued a decree last July in the absence of a parliament, allowing him for the first time to dismiss the heads of regulatory agencies, including the top auditor, the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, the financial regulator, and the Administrative Control Authority, raising questions about their independence.
Late last year, a presidentially appointed fact finding committee accused Geneina of inflating figures and “defaming the state.”
In January, Egypt’s newly elected parliament formed another committee to investigate Geneina’s claims, with several MPs calling for his dismissal.
On 20 January, Egypt's top prosecutor issued a media gag order in the investigation.
Egypt ranked 88th out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2015.