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Egypt's parliament to look into wheat fraud allegations

Reuters , Wednesday 29 Jun 2016
Egyptian wheat harvest season begins in April and lasts until July. (File Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egyptian wheat harvest season begins in April and lasts until July. (File Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's parliament has set up a fact-finding commission that will look into allegations of corruption in local wheat procurement, Speaker Ali Abdelaal said on Wednesday.

Parliament will also cross-examine the prime minister, supplies minister, trade minister, and agriculture minister over allegations that local wheat procurement figures were inflated, Abdelaal said.

Egypt, the world's biggest importer of wheat, announced this week a government-led inspection of wheat silos after an unusually high procurement figure prompted widespread fraud allegations from top industry officials, traders and MPs .

The Ministry of Supplies on Sunday dismissed allegations that its wheat procurement figures were inflated and promised penalties for domestic suppliers that misreport stocks.

The ministry said it had ended its local procurement this month with nearly 5 million tonnes of wheat from its farmers, markedly higher than the 3 million to 3.5 million tonnes a year delivered over the past decade.

If the numbers were misrepresented, Egypt may have to buy more foreign wheat to meet domestic demand while contending with a dollar shortage that has already sapped the country's import capability. 

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