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Egypt's new prime minister denies corruption accusations

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail was accused of helping his relatives get hired by a state company

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Sep 2015
Sherif Ismail
Sherif Ismail (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail on Monday denied accusations of corruption levelled at him in the domestic media.

Ismail, who was appointed by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Saturday, was previously the country's minister of petroleum and mineral resources.

In a statement Sherif denied that he had used his position as petroleum minister to have his wife and a number of his relatives hired at the state-owned company Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries Company (ENPPI) as some TV shows had claimed on Saturday.

Ismail said that his wife has worked as an engineer for ENPPI since 1984.

Former premier Ibrahim Mahlab offered his resignation and that of his cabinet on Saturday.

No reason was given for the move, but several days before the agriculture minister, Salah Halal, had been arrested on corruption charges. Prosecutors are currently investigating charges of corruption around the sale of state land.

Ismail also addressed the spread of photos online on Saturday showing him appearing with one of those suspected of involvement in the corruption scandal that has hit the agriculture ministry.

The photos showed Ismail standing next to Mohamed Fouda, a journalist and one of the main suspects in the scandal, in Fouda's hometown Zafta in Gharbiya governorate.

Sherif Ismail explained that the photos were taken during a visit to Gharbiya in 2014 where he inaugurated a number of projects, including a gas station in Zafta.

"There is no personal relationship from of any kind between me and Mohamed Fouda, who introduced himself to the ministry as a column writer and journalist," said the prime minister in his brief statement.

Fouda, who was convicted of corruption before during the rule of president Hosni Mubarak, is currently detained pending investigations.

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