Rachid: Rumors about my wealth are all ‘lies’

Ahram Online, Wednesday 9 Feb 2011

More information surfaces on the charges of gross misconduct and corruption faced by the former ministers purged by the government as it struggles to appease Egyptian protesters

Former Egyptian minister of trade and industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid denied Tuesday claims that his wealth exceeds $12 bn.

"These are plain lies," he said in an interview with al-Arabiya. "I struggled with my staff to fight the corruption against prominent characters and we could have done much more."

Rachid added he was surprised to find out that his assets had been frozen after he left the country with the knowledge of government officials.

He added that he was "ready for questioning" by the attorney-general.

The ex-minister said that regardless of his non-political view he is sympathetic and supportive to protesters in Tahrir Square. He also warned them to guard against "any opposition leadership who want to waste their great efforts." 

The former housing minister Ahmed El-Maghrabi appeared before prosecutors on Monday to face charges of squandering public money and seizing state land, the state news agency Mena said.

By the end of last week, Egypt’s public prosecutor issued a travel ban on former interior minister Habib El-Adly, former housing minister Ahmad El-Maghrabi and the former minister for tourism, Zuhair Garana. Former National Democratic Party member and steel magnate Ahmed Ezz has also been banned from leaving the country. All those under investigation have had their bank accounts frozen.

Two weeks ago, Egyptian President Mubarak dismissed his cabinet following massive protests demanding the ouster of Mubarak and the entire ruling regime. Mubarak also appointed a new government led by Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, Egypt’s former aviation minister.

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