TV host, ex-justice minister referred to court for defaming Egypt's former top auditor

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Apr 2016

Controversial TV host Ahmed Moussa and former justice minister Ahmed El-Zend were referred to trial for insulting and defaming former head of the Central Auditing Organisation Hisham Geneina on TV

Ahmed El-Zend
Egypt's former Justice Minister Ahmed El-Zend (Ahram)

A Cairo criminal court referred on Sunday TV host Ahmed Moussa and former minister of justice Ahmed El-Zend to trial, to start on 4 June, for defaming and insulting Egypt's former top auditor Hisham Geneina.

In a January interview on Sada El-Balad with the controversial Moussa, El-Zend attacked the former head of the Central Auditing Organisation and ex-head of the Judges Club Zakaria Abdel-Aziz, accusing them of being tools of the Muslim Brotherhood and "working for them like gang members."

Geneina, who has grabbed headlines recently for alleging massive state corruption, was dismissed from his position on Tuesday by a presidential decree.

The dismissal came hours after the State Security prosecution issued a statement accusing Geneina of making false claims about widespread corruption in state institutions.

Geneina had alleged in statements to local media last year that Egypt had lost LE600 billion (about $76 billion) between 2012 and 2015 due to corruption in state institutions including the judiciary and intelligence services.

Known for his numerous controversial statements, El-Zend was dismissed from his post as justice minister in March after making comments on TV about the Prophet Muhammad that many considered blasphemous.

El-Zend has repeatedly attacked Geneina in recent years over the latter's allegations of corruption in the judiciary when El-Zend was the head of the Judges Club.

El-Zend has previously refused to let the Central Auditing Organisation audit the financial records of the Judges Club.

Both Abdel-Aziz and Geneina were leading members of the Independent Judiciary movement in 2006, which fought against the Mubarak regime's interference in the judiciary.

Abdel-Aziz was forced into retirement in March by a disciplinary committee formed by the court of appeals for "storming the former State Security headquarter" in Cairo in March 2011.

This is not the first time TV host Moussa, who is known for opposing the 25 January Revolution that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, has been referred to court over comments he made about public figures.

He has repeatedly attacked activists and political figures associated with the 2011 uprising.

Moussa is also a strong supporter of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his government.

In 2015, a misdemeanors court sentenced Moussa to one year in jail, which he is appealing, for slandering former presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh. 

Moussa also received jail terms in two separate cases for insulting a lawyer with the Zamalek football club fan group the Ultras White Knights, as well as the Geneina.

In 2014, the Journalists Syndicate questioned him over allegedly breaching the media code of ethics and attacking the 2011 revolution following several complaints by journalists.

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