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Friday, 18 June 2021

Egypt’s parliament to discuss law on dismissing state employees who test positive for drugs

The House will debate another law that imposes penalties on individuals who make public court hearings without prior permission

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 8 May 2021
Egypt
Egypt's parliament
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Egypt's House of Representatives is scheduled to meet on Sunday and Monday to discuss a new batch of legislative amendments.

On Sunday, the House will discuss government-drafted amendments to the Civil Service Law 81/2016 which regulates the performance of state employees and civil servants.

A report prepared by the House's Labour Force Committee and the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee said the amendment of the Civil Service Law has become a necessity in order to protect society from the dangers of keeping persons who administer drugs in their jobs.

The report stated that the amendment mainly aims to allow state authorities to automatically dismiss civil servants who test positive for drugs from their jobs without the need for judicial measures. "This legal procedure is necessary to protect public utilities and the lives of citizens from state employees who commit fatal mistakes because of their addiction to drugs," said the report.

The amendment comes on the heels of three train accidents which hit Egypt last month, leaving more than 40 citizens dead and hundreds injured. The prosecution's investigation into the accidents showed that the drivers of the three trains were administering drugs.

"Drugs are very harmful for the brain and for man's nervous and psychological conditions, so the law should be amended to automatically dismiss civil servants who test positive for drugs from their jobs," said the report.

According to the report, "the scope of the legislative amendment will be widened to penalise those who help persons administering drugs get government jobs."

Article 2 stipulates that all those who seek jobs in state authorities, state administrative units, public sector companies, public utility management companies, rehabilitation centres, kindergartens, schools, and hospitals should test negative for drugs.

Article 3 states that "state employees and civil servants will be subject to annual random drug testing. Those who test positive will be fired at once without the need for judicial measures."

"The law, however, gives state employees who test positive for drugs the right to appeal the dismissal decision by going to forensic medicine to give a final say on whether they really take drugs," said Article 3.

Article 4 states that those who abstain or evade facing drug tests without a reasonable excuse will be also automatically dismissed from their jobs.

Article 5 stipulates that those who help persons administering drugs get government jobs will face the penalty of prison terms and hefty fines.

Article 6 states that those who conduct fake drug tests with the intention of giving false results will also face prison terms.

Parliament will also discuss on Sunday an amendment to Article 186 of the penal code incriminating all those who publish, take photos or record court hearings of a criminal case without prior permission from the presiding judge.

A report prepared by the House's Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee said the above amendment is constitutional because it goes in line with Article 187 of the constitution which states that court hearings are generally open, but in certain cases the court may decide that the hearings are held in secret in observance of public order and ethics.

"As a result, Article 186 of the penal code will be amended to impose a fine ranging from EGP 100,000 to EGP 300,000 on those who take photos or record the words or parts of the court hearing of a criminal case without taking prior permission from the presiding judge," said the report.

The committee said the amendment was approved by the Higher Council for Judges, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, the National Press Organisation, and the National Media Organisation.

The House will also discuss on Sunday the amendment of the Law on Notarisation and Documentation Fees 70/1964. The government-drafted law aims to impose a notarisation fee of 0.5 per cent (a maximum of EGP 100,000) on all companies which aim to submit its pre-qualification works and budget to foreign circles. 

"Under the current law, contracting companies are exempted from this notaridation fee," said a House report, indicating that "but the amendment comes to put all companies on an equal footing, obliging them to pay a reduced notarisation fee of 0.5 per cent."

The report said the amendment aims to facilitate the investment climate for all national companies operating in and outside Egypt.

"The performance of the majority of strong economies depends on the active performance of their national companies in local and foreign markets," said the report, adding that "the amendment also aims to encourage national Egyptian companies boost their exports in foreign markets and to also help them to compete for international tenders."

The report indicates that "more business for Egyptian companies in foreign markets means more inflows of foreign currency and more demand on Egyptian workers."

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