TV host reveals names of defendants in health ministry bribery case

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Zeinab El-Gundy , Tuesday 4 Jan 2022

Popular Egyptian TV host Amr Adib has revealed on his show, Al-Hekaya on MBC Misr, the names of the defendants in what has been dubbed by the media as “the health ministry bribery case.”

the High Court of Justice
File Photo: A view of the High Court of Justice in Cairo, Egypt. REUTERS

Last week, the general prosecution announced that it had referred four defendants to trial, without disclosing their names, on charges of abusing power and taking bribes to reverse a decision to close an unlicensed private hospital.

According to Adib, the defendants are Mohamed Ahmed Beheiry, the general manager for licensing non-governmental medical institutions at the health ministry; Malek Attiya Ibrahim El-Fayoumy, one of the owners of the hospital; Mohamed Abdel-Meguid Hussein El-Ashaab, a specialist at an insurance company; and Hossam El-Din Fouda, a retired officer.

All the defendants are currently detained, according to Adib.

Adib also dismissed rumours that Health Minister Hala Zayed and her direct relatives were implicated in the case.

At the time of publishing this article, the prosecutor-general has not publicly revealed the identity of the defendants.

According to the prosecution, the first defendant is accused of demanding an EGP 5 million bribe and accepting EGP 600,000 from the owners of the private hospital in exchange for reversing the decision to shut down the facility and preparing a report falsely asserting the lack of any violations at the hospital.

Two other defendants are accused of mediating the bribe, while a fourth defendant faces forgery charges.

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 has obtained evidence of the crime in the form of conversations on the defendant’s seized phones, the statement said.

Health Minister Zayed 'not involved in the case'

Defendant El-Ashaab, a former parliamentarian, was previously married to Health Minister Zayed and is the father of her son.

Adib asserted that neither Minister Zayed nor her son are implicated in the case.

“Her name and the name of her son are not in the case,” he said, stressing that Zayed has served the country faithfully.

Zayed suffered from a heart attack in October and was hospitalised, around the same time when rumours started circulating about a corruption scandal at the health ministry.

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

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.

Zayed, 54, was appointed as health minister in June 2018, becoming the second woman ever to serve in the post. 

She holds a Master’s degree in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and a doctorate and Master’s degree in Business Administration.

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