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Egypt's prime minister Mahlab returns from Tunisia on Thursday

A cabinet spokesperson said on Wednesday that PM Mahlab refused to answer questions about allegations he was involved in a Mubarak-era corruption case because it is a 'domestic' issue

Ahram Online , Wednesday 9 Sep 2015
Ibrahim Mehleb
Egypt's PM Ibrahim Mehleb (Al-Ahram)

Egypt's Prime Minster Ibrahim Mahlab is set to arrive from Tunisia on Thursday after a two-day official visit to its capital Tunis, where he held talks with President Beji Caid Essebsi and his counterpart Habib Essid.

Mahlab delivered a written message from President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to his Tunisian counterpart inviting him to visit Egypt.

Following a meeting with Essid, Mahlab held a press conference in which he gave statements over the arrest of Egypt's outgoing agriculture minister Salah Helal on corruption charges.

He described the case as an internal issue.

However, a Tunisian journalist asked whether the prime minister is implicated in the legal lawsuit known in the media as the "presidential palaces case."

The case involves Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal who were convicted last May of embezzling LE125 million ($17.9 million) in order to develop their private buildings.

Mahlab refused to respond to the question from the Tunisian journalist and left the conference hall abruptly.

On Wednesday, Hossam Kawish, a cabinet spokesperson, said that Mahlab left the hall as he agreed with the conference organisers to respond to only two questions.

"Moreover, this Tunisian journalist is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood [which is banned in Egypt]. The prime minister refused to answer his question also because it involved internal issues," Kawish added.

Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2011, received a three-year prison sentence, and his sons' receiving four-year sentences.

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