11 top officials at Egypt's agriculture ministry referred to judiciary over corruption charges

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Sep 2015

The outgoing Agriculture Minister Salah Helal handed in his resignation last week shortly before his arrest on corruption charges

Egypt's Minister of Irrigation Hossam Moghazi (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazi referred 11 top officials at the agriculture ministry to the judiciary, accusing them of embezzlement and facilitating the seizure of public funds, state news agency MENA reported on Monday.

"We will not conceal corruption and no one is above the law. Anyone found to be involved in cases related to wasting public funds will be interrogated," Moghazi said in a statement.

Moghazi explained that he has referred to prosecution two cases.

The first case is related to selling land related to the General Authority at the Agrarian Reform in Egypt's Daqahliya governorate, while the second case is related to easing a poultry license in Upper Egypt's Minya governorate.

On 7 September, Egypt's outgoing Agriculture Minister Salah Helal was arrested on charges of corruption, with the prosecution saying he would be detained pending investigation.

The Egyptian cabinet accepted his resignation shortly before his arrest.

The cabinet released a statement saying the "resignation was accepted” upon the request of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Following the incident, the Irrigation Minister Moghazi replaced Helal as agriculture minister until a new minister is permanently appointed.

On Saturday, the whole cabinet resigned amid rumors of the involvement of some other ministers in the corruption case. 

The president reportedly ordered the cabinet to continue carrying out their current responsibilities until a new cabinet is formed, and asked Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail to become prime minister to carry out this task.

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