File Photo: Hisham Geneina, Egypt's former chief auditor and a leading aide of detained ex-military chief-of-staff Sami Anan (Photo: AFP)
Egypt's military prosecution ordered on Tuesday the detention for 15 days of former head of the Egyptian Central Auditing Organization Hisham Geneina pending investigations into his claims that former military chief-of-staff Sami Anan possesses documents containing state secrets, state news agency MENA reported.
Geneina was a leading figure in the short-lived election campaign for Anan before the military officer was barred from running in the March presidential elections. Anan was detained by authorities last month over accusations of committing a series of violations and crimes, including inciting against the military and forgery.
Geneina was arrested on Tuesday at his home in a Cairo suburb, his lawyer Ali Taha told Ahram Online, one day after the Egyptian army said it would take legal action against the two men.
In an interview with HuffPost Arabia published on Sunday, Geneina claimed that Anan possessed documents and evidence relating to major deadly incidents and "political crimes" since the 2011 revolution and following the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi that could implicate many Egyptian officials if they were made public.
He said the documents were kept abroad and would surface if authorities tried to assassinate Anan.
The army has responded by saying the matter would be referred to investigators to take the necessary legal action against both former officials and that it would "use all constitutional and legal powers to preserve national security."
It added that Geneina's claims "amount to crimes and aim to raise doubts about the state and its institutions" at a time when the armed forces are waging a battle to uproot terrorism from the Sinai region.
An hour after the army's statement, Anan's lawyer Nasser Amin distanced his client from Geneina's controversial remarks.
In a statement on Facebook, he described Geneina's claims as "unfounded, untrue and bearing no relation to reality." The lawyer pledged to take legal action against anyone who has given or will give statements to the media "attributing any words or acts to Anan that would undermine [Anan's] legal status or expose him to the danger of legal or social liability."
"Any statements not made by Sami Annan in person are attributed to their owners and do not in any way express him," he said.
Anan was detained by authorities last month, a week after announcing his presidential bid. The army accused him of inciting against the military and breaking the law by running for office without its permission while still a reserve officer.
Geneina was attacked and severely wounded two weeks ago while on his way to lodge an appeal against an electoral commission's decision to disqualify Anan from running in the presidential vote, scheduled for 26-28 March. He said in media interviews that Egyptian authorities were behind his assault.
The interior ministry said at the time of the attack that Geneina hit a man with his car and that his doorman, wife and daughter assaulted what Geneina said were the attackers and tore off their clothes.