Former PM Ahmed Shafiq (AP)
A Cairo criminal court acquitted on Wednesday former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and two others of squandering public funds in developing a public park dubbed Family Garden.
Shafiq, alongside two others, was charged with wasting and facilitating the embezzlement of public money when he was serving as the country's Minister of Civil Aviation, during Hosni Mubarak’s era, from 2002 to 2011.
The prosecution accused Shafiq of signing a protocol with Mubarak's chief of staff, Zakaria Azmy, who was a secretary of a development association, under which the association was handed money belonging to the civil aviation ministry in order to provide entertainment games to the Family Park.
The lawyers of Shafiq, who was tried in absentia, denied the charges of wasting public funds, noting that expenses of developing the park were covered from the returns of the project's marketing. He added that the park was established upon the consent of 10 entities and ministries.
Shafiq currently resides in Dubai. He left Egypt after his defeat in the presidential election runoff to the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi in 2012, who was ousted in 2013.