Egypt minister denies talks with Mubarak-era trade minister Rachid

Ahram Online, Friday 23 Mar 2012

Industry Minister Mahmoud Eissa refutes claims Mubarak-era minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid will be allowed reentry to Egypt pending repatriation of funds

Former Mubarak ministers
Egypt's former housing minister Ahmed El-Maghrabi (R) and former tourism minister Zuhair Garana behind court bars. (Photo: Reuters)

Industry Minister Mahmoud Eissa on Thursday denied the government had entered into negotiations with former trade minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid about permitting the latter's return to Egypt following the repatriation of funds he sent abroad.

In September 2011, Rachid was sentenced to 15 years in absentia on graft charges related to the illegal sale of steel licenses. He was fined LE1.4 billion and ordered to refund the profits he illegally acquired through the sale of steel contracts.

Reconciliation with members of the former regime – many of whom are in Tora Prison or have fled abroad – will depend on the popular consent of the Egyptian people, Eissa said.

Last week, Finance Minister Momtaz El-Said revealed the government was talking with Mubarak-era officials, who had offered to pay back illegally acquired money in exchange for their freedom.

The minister said negotiations were underway with Ahmed Ezz, former tourism minister Zoheir Garana and former housing minister Ahmed El-Maghrabi.


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