New corruption report on Egypt released to general prosecutor

Ahram Online, Thursday 24 Feb 2011

As Egyptians look to recoup the nation's stolen money, the Central Auditing Agency has released three reports on corruption and public money waste: land and health system were deeply taken advantage of


Central Auditing Agency Chairman, Gawdat El-Malt announced that he sent three surveillance reports today to the general prosecutor, Abdul Megid Mahmoud, citing fraud, corruption and misallocation of state funds.

“The first report investigates cases of encroachment on state land” the state run-news Middle East News Agency (MENA) cites El-Malt.

“This includes occupation of the state's land without legal title, water resources infringement, encroachment of lands assigned for reclamation to build resorts, villas, golf courses, clubs, hotels, swimming pools and restaurants in violation of the law.”

Trespass on public lands on both sides of the [Cairo/Alexandria] highway, he adds, is one of the worst examples of “unforgivable waste of public money.”

Examples include the former housing minister, Ahmed El-Maghraby, who appeared before prosecutors last week to face charges of squandering public money and seizing state land.

Palm Hills Development (PHD), a giant development company co-founded by El-Maghraby, was reviewed by the administrative court as a notorious example of the land grabbing that, many claim, has become one of the most prominent features of crony capitalism, in which government bureaucracy is in bed with business.

The second report points to gross violations, bad decisions and cronyism in medical benefits that led to a waste of public money.

Former Health Minister, Hatem el-Gabaly came under fire as a number of opposition figures and members of the Lower House’s health committee accused him of favouritism and corruption for allegedly issuing permits for state-funded medication to some of his family members.

“The improper use of medical treatment decisions by government officials and ministers has come at the expense of the poor,” El-Malt comments.

The third report, according to El-Malt, shows a massive waste of LE32m ($5,435,250) in public money to build the Ramses Garage and its subsequent collapse.

“The three reports were already sent times before to the high authorities, which highlights the agency's commitment to the fulfilment of its constitutional and legal duty” he added.

On Monday, thousands of the agency's employees staged protests at the headquarters in Nasr City against El-Malt demanding his ouster for failing to uncover cases of high officials’ corruption during his 12 years as agency chairman.

Earlier, El-Malt said in a press conference that more than 1000 cases have been presented to the government, parliament and presidential office over the past six years calling for immediate anti-corruption measures and reforms, but they were totally ignored.

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