File photo: MP Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
The Egyptian parliament's Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee will convene on Sunday to discuss an Ethics Committee recommendation that high-profile MP Anwar El-Sadat be stripped of parliament membership.
The 15-member Ethics Committee, also headed by Abu Shoqa, agreed last week that El-Sadat's parliamentary membership should be dropped, saying that he failed to defend against accusations that he was involved in collecting and sending secret information to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), leaking a draft NGO law to foreign embassies in Cairo and faking the signatures of 16 of his colleagues on laws he drafted on criminal procedures and NGOs.
Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, the head of the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee and secretary-general of the Wafd Party, told reporters that the Ethics Committee's recommendation was referred to the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee in line with Article 53 of parliament's internal bylaws.
“Article 53 states that if the Ethics Committee recommends an MP be stripped of parliamentary membership, the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee must meet to discuss the recommendation, question the MP and listen to his defence,” said Abu Shoqa.
El-Sadat, supported by a number of leftist and liberal MPs, lashed back against the Ethics Committee's recommendation, describing it as “biased and politicised.”
El-Sadat, nephew of late president Anwar El-Sadat, also announced that he had officially requested Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek question him over the accusations made by the Ethics Committee.
In his request, El-Sadat said that “since these accusations negatively affect my dignity and reputation as an MP, I hope that you officially ask parliament that I be stripped of my parliamentary immunity so that you can take all the measures necessary to uncover the truth and all the facts related to these accusations.”
Ihab El-Tamawy, a member of the Ethics Committee, told reporters that “if the 33-member Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee also agreed that El-Sadat must be stripped of membership, a report on this recommendation would be prepared to be discussed in a plenary session.”
“MPs will vote on this recommendation,” said El-Tamawy.
El-Tamawy explained that “in line with Article 110 of the constitution, parliament should meet in a plenary session to decide whether the MP in question has lost trust or violated rules, and then two-thirds of MPs should vote in favour of the recommendation for it to be effective.”
El-Sadat said that “if a final report recommends that I be stripped of my parliamentary membership, I hope that a majority of MPs would vote against the recommendation.”
Sources said that El-Sadat faces a hostile majority in the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee.
“It might also be recommended that El-Sadat be put on trial on the charge of leaking secret national security information,” said an informed source.
Sadat said the Ethics Committee's recommendation against him is politicised because he “took the unprecedented step of accusing parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal of squandering EGP 18 million on buying three armoured cars at a time of austerity measures and economic crisis in Egypt.”
In a plenary session on 13 February, speaker Abdel-Aal accused El-Sadat of taking photos of his armoured car and giving copies of it to different media outlets, including television channels and private newspapers.
“If I were to be assassinated, the man who took photos of the car of the House speaker would be considered a partner in this crime,” said Abdel-Aal.
Abdel-Aal said that “although Egypt's [new] parliament has become one-and-a-half years old, some MPs still insist on showing unacceptable conduct.”
“I had been working as a professor in Ain Shams university for 45 years and it had never happened that a professor got involved in attacking the university's board of directors, so I wonder how an MP can insist on attacking Egypt's parliament on false grounds,” said Abdel-Aal.