Egypt's former Housing Minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi arrives at court in a police vehicle in north Cairo February 23, 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
Cairo's Criminal Court resumes its session on Saturday for the trial of former Housing Minister, Ahmed El-Maghrabi and in absentia, fugitive businessman, Akram Adada. They are both accused for squandering public funds and unlawful acquisition of governments' land worth up to LE 25.5 million.
The general prosecution earlier requested the court to give the maximum sentence on both accused suspects.
The prosecution pointed out that the suspect violated the statutes of the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) by allocating 5 feddans (a feddan equals about 0.42 hectare) to Adada in an investment area in New Cairo where the law of urban communities states the allocation is for companies only.
"There was no decision to privatize any of the lands during his time as the Minister of Housing; most of the cases that facilitated the acquisition of governmental land included El-Maghrabi, who issued the decision himself," the prosecution told Ahram Arabic gate.
The prosecutor added, "The first suspect, El-Maghrabi, acted with authority, while the second suspect, Adada, played innocent. In reality, they filed a request to seize a piece of state land by violating the law of the New Urban Communities Authority. The defendants accused unlawfully appropriated public wealth and El-Maghrabi allocated the land to Adada with very low prices."
In May 2011, El-Maghrabi was sentenced to five years in prison and fined for his part in an illegal land deal.
El-Maghrabi was found guilty of arranging the illegal sale of land to businessman Mounir Ghabbour, who received a one-year suspended sentence. Both were found guilty of wasting public funds and ordered to return a total of LE72 million ($12.6 million) to the state.