Egypt's public prosecutor refers 4 to trial in health ministry bribery case

Amr Kandil , Wednesday 29 Dec 2021

Egypt’s public prosecutor on Wednesday referred four defendants to criminal trial in the case known as 'the health ministry bribery case.'

Egypt s Public Prosecution. File photo

The first defendant was referred to trial on charges of abuse of power and taking a bribe to reverse a decision to close an unlicensed private hospital.

Two other defendants are accused of mediating the bribe, while a fourth defendant faces forgery accusations in the case, the public prosecutor said in a statement on Wednesday.

The first defendant is accused of demanding an EGP 5 million bribe and accepting EGP 600,000 from the owners of the private hospital, the public prosecution said.

The defendant is accused of demanding the bribe in exchange for reversing the hospital closure decision and preparing a report falsely asserting the lack of any violations at the hospital.

A total of 13 witnesses reported the bribery attempt to the prosecution, including the two hospital owners, who cooperated with the prosecution until the defendant was arrested, the prosecution said.

The prosecution found evidence of the crime in the form of conversations on the defendant’s seized phones, the statement said.

The prosecution also reviewed all hospital inspection reports, both authentic and forged, and bank documents that prove the bribe was paid.

Late in October, the prosecution said it was conducting investigations into officials at the health ministry, without revealing further details. Wednesday’s statement did not confirm whether this is the same case.

Some media reports at the time cited anonymous sources as saying that the officials worked in the office of Health Minister Hala Zayed, which has not been officially confirmed.

The public prosecution, however, warned in an October statement against “untrue” news circulated on social media and news websites regarding the incident.

The prosecution urged media outlets to stick to the information it releases around the incident and said it would reveal information “according to what it thinks is appropriate to ensure the good flow of investigations and guarantee its integrity.”

Minister Zayed suffered from a heart attack in October and was hospitalised, according to former health ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly delegated Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar late in October to take over Zayed’s duties until her recovery.

Although Zayed reportedly left the hospital shortly after the incident, she has not resumed her duties and the Cabinet has not issued any official statements about her future as minister.

Short link: