Egyptian MP Sadat vows ‎to reveal 'more parliamentary corruption'

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 1 Feb 2017

Independent MP Anwar El-Sadat said parliament's ‎decision to buy three armoured cars represents just the tip of an iceberg of corruption in ‎Egypt's parliamentary circles‎

MP Anwar El-Sadat
MP Anwar El-Sadat (Photo: Al-Ahram )

In a 10-point response to the Egyptian parliament's statement on his ‎accusations that it had misspent an estimated EGP 18 ‎million in public funds, independent MP Anwar El-‎Sadat vowed that he would issue more reports about ‎the misuse of public funds by parliament.‎

Sadat said the claims made in parliament's statement should be thoroughly investigated by the ‎budget committee.

Sadat said earlier this week that parliament purchased three cars for use by parliament officials in excess of the budget allotted for such purchases, which parliament has denied in its response.

"The misuse of public funds in ‎Egypt's parliament ‎has become an issue of public opinion, not to ‎mention that MPs should exercise their powers in ‎raising questions about parliament's funds," said ‎Sadat.‎

Sadat vowed that he would reveal more "files about ‎corruption and misuse of public funds in Egypt's ‎parliamentary circles."

"I vow that I will force ‎parliament's budget committee to open more files ‎about corruption and misuse of public funds when it ‎meets to discuss parliament's 2015/2016 budget," said ‎Sadat, adding that "I am sure that what I said about ‎the purchase of expensive cars represents is just the tip ‎of an iceberg of corruption and misuse of public ‎funds."‎

"I am also ready to face any kind of ‎questioning because nobody is above the law, but I ‎promise I will be loyal to securing the interests of the ‎people who voted for me."‎

Sadat questioned the parliament secretariat-‎general's statement saying that when parliament was ‎dissolved in 2012, the speaker's heavily armoured car ‎was sent to the cabinet to be used by the prime ‎minister.

"While this represents a complete assault ‎on the House's funds, parliament should move ‎quickly to recover this car or refer the case to ‎prosecution authorities to investigate how this car ‎was used by the cabinet," said Sadat.‎

Parliament's secretariat-general said in a statement ‎on Monday that a request to buy 25 cars to serve the ‎needs of the speaker, his two deputies and other ‎senior officials and to replace old ones that were no ‎longer viable for use was issued in December 2015 – ‎one month before parliament was elected – by ‎Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Magdi El-Agati.‎

In response, Sadat said parliament's 2015/2016 ‎balance sheet said nothing about the 25 cars.

‎‎"I want to ask who had decided that the 25 cars were no longer viable for use and who ‎decided that a fleet of 25 new cars – including an ‎expensive armoured one – were to be bought while ‎parliament was dissolved," said Sadat.‎

Sadat admonished parliament saying that said it was ‎the Ministry of Defence that was responsible for ‎buying the speaker's new armoured car.

"I think the Ministry of Defence was mentioned ‎in order to scare me away from ‎raising any more questions about this misuse of ‎public funds and force me to close this file," said ‎Sadat.‎

Sadat added that while parliament's statement said that ‎only 17 of the 25 cars have been bought since ‎February 2016 – or one month after parliament was ‎elected – "I wonder why 2015/2016's balance sheet ‎said nothing at all about this."

"I think the financial ‎details of this purchase operation should be heavily ‎discussed in the budget committee," said Sadat.‎

According to Sadat, parliament's statement shows ‎that one armoured car estimated at 393,000 euros (or ‎EGP 3.4 million) was bought in December 2015, and ‎that parliament sought to buy another two armoured ‎cars estimated at EGP 12 million in February 2016. ‎‎

"While this means that as much as EGP 15.4 million ‎have been spent since December 2015 to buy three ‎armoured cars, parliament's 2015/2016 balance sheet ‎shows as many as EGP 18 million have been spent to ‎buy the three armoured cars," said ‎Sadat.‎

"There is a big ‎difference between the figure cited by the statement ‎released by parliament's secretariat-general on one ‎hand and the one cited by the balance sheet."

Sadat rebuffed parliament's statement accusing him of opting to make his accusations ‎public on TV channels without first contacting the ‎parliament's secretariat-general or seeking a response from the ‎speaker.

"Since the new parliament was formed ‎in January 2016, I have tried many times to seek ‎answers from the secretariat-general and the ‎speaker," said Sadat, adding that "the only response I ‎received was when I decided to resign as head of ‎parliament's human rights committee."

"When I sent ‎them the resignation request, they said in a response ‎that they wholeheartedly welcome this resignation," ‎said Sadat.‎

Sadat concluded that while government and ‎parliamentary officials opted to squander money on ‎buying expensive and armoured cars in a time of ‎economic crisis and belt-tightening measures, parliament's budget allocates a very ‎small amount of money to improving the skills of ‎parliament's staff.

"Parliament's ‎‎2015/2016 budget said the cost of training one ‎employee stood at just EGP 10 per month – or almost ‎half a dollar," said Sadat.‎

Sadat insisted that his accusations were by no means ‎motivated by a personal grudge against the speaker or ‎any other senior parliamentary officials.

"It was ‎motivated by pure public interests and that MPs have ‎an obligation to fully exercise their supervisory powers," said Sadat. ‎

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