The General Prosecution has released a statement saying it will fast track investigations launched in several corruption cases by allowing judges to investigate the cases.
The statement, released today on the General Prosecution’s Facebook page, said that according to the Criminal Procedures Law, the prosecutor-general, Abdel-Megeed Mahmoud, has the right to give judges the duty of investigating corruption, instead of the General Prosecution, in cases that may help the “public benefit”. As such, the judge investigates the case instead of issuing a ruling.
According to human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, having judges investigate cases of corruption will speed up the process, because each will be focused on limited cases, whereas the general prosecutor usually has dozens of cases running at the same time.
Additionally, other legal experts believe that the prosecutor-general may be concerned that young prosecutors may not have enough experience to be able to question some of the leading figures that are currently charged with corruption, and that it may be better to let a judge do the job.
According to the statement, there are six cases that the prosecutor-general decided will be investigated by judges. The cases include corruption charges against Ibrahim Nafaa, former editor-in chief and chairman of Al-Ahram, and Hasan Hamdy, former head of Ahram advertising and former head of Al-Ahly Football Club, corruption charges against former Minister of Agriculture Amin Abaza, incidents of attacks on protesters in Tahrir Square, especially during the "Battle of the Camel" on 2 February, charges against former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, and complaints sent by the Freedom Committee in the Lawyers Syndicate regarding cases of torture and human rights abuses.
Ali adds that Mahmoud may have also decided to refer the case of Hasan Hamdy to an investigative judge because of a personal relationship between the two, which may affect the objectivity of the investigation. “Mahmoud used to be a member of the board of Al-Ahly Football Club, so he may have a personal relationship with Hamdy and therefore referred the case to a judge to make sure that the investigation is unbiased,” explained Ail. “He is being objective and transparent.”
The statement also said that the once a judge is chosen to oversee a case, he will have all the powers of the prosecutor-general , interrogating suspects, to questioning witnesses, arresting suspects or transferring them to the Criminal Court.