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Shafiq graft allegations referred to Egypt's public prosecution

Presidential contender Ahmed Shafiq is accused by leading MP of selling state land at fire-sale prices to members of former regime

Ahram Online , Sunday 13 May 2012
Presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq
Former prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq talks during a news conference in Cairo, May 6, 2012. (Photo:Reuters)
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Parliament Speaker Saad El-Katatni on Sunday formally referred corruption charges levelled by Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan against former prime minister and current presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq to Egypt's public prosecutor.

Sultan has accused Shafiq of exploiting his previous position as head of Egypt's Young Air Force Officers Association by selling thousands of acres of state land in Ismailia – earmarked for the association – at reduced prices to figures associated with the former regime.

In Sunday's parliamentary session, Sultan produced official documents including a contract allegedly showing the transactions in question. El-Katatni asked Sultan to show him the documents before referring the case to the public prosecution.

Shafiq campaign coordinator Mohamed El-Qutri, for his part, issued a statement later on Sunday in which he described Sultan's allegations as being "very far from the truth." El-Qutri went on to assert that Sultan was attempting to "sabotage" Egypt's presidential elections process. 

Sultan has been a strong parliamentary advocate of Egypt's recently-enacted 'disenfranchisement law,' which bans figures associated with the Mubarak regime from holding high state positions for a five-year period.

Shafiq was disqualified from the presidential contest late last month, shortly after Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) approved the law. He returned to the race, however, after his appeal was accepted by the SCAF-appointed Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission, which has since referred the law to Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court.

The court is expected to deliver a verdict on the law's constitutionality on 28 May. 

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