Corruption accusations stir anger in Egyptian antiquity ministry

Ahram Online, Tuesday 19 Jul 2011

Egyptian Cabinet says El-Banna, who claims he declined to ignore old cases of corruption, was asked to decline the post of minister after he provoked hostility among ministry staff

Abd El-Fattah El-Banna

Abd El-Fatah El-Banna, previously nominated to hold Egypt’s antiquities portfolio, announced on Monday evening that he was not refused the position but declined because he was unwilling to ignore past corruption by the old regime.

As a response to El-Banna’s statement, the Egyptian Cabinet announced “we are sorry that Dr. Abd El-Fatah El-Banna has misunderstood the reason we asked him to turn down the position offered to him in the Ministry of Antiquities. He has accused several of the antiquities sector employees of corruption and thus triggered much rejection from many of those against him holding the position. Essam Sharaf consequently believed that it would not be an appropriate atmosphere for him to work and asked him to report to the prosecutor-general any information regarding corruption cases.”   

Several archaeologists and employees of the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) have demonstrated on Monday at the front gate of the cabinet building calling for the cancellation of El-Banna’s nomination to the ministry's top post.

However, El-Banna says that he turned down the position after several employees linked to archaeologist Zahi Hawass, former minister of antiquities, campaigned against him holding the position for being unqualified and threatening to resign themselves.


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