'One year on, Egyptian corruption cases still in limbo' : IGA head

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Sep 2012

More than half of corruption cases reported to Egypt's Illicit Gains Authority since January 2011 are still awaiting investigation

Gamal and Alaa
Gamal Mubarak, left, and his brother Alaa Mubarak, sons of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, listens to court proceedings from the defendants' cage in a courtroom in Cairo (photo: AP)

Egypt's Illicit Gains Authority (IGA) has received 597 reports since January 2011, including 45 related to key figures in the Mubarak regime, Asem El-Gohary, IGA head, said on Monday.

Following the popular uprising that unseated former president Hosni Mubarak early in 2011, numerous corruption allegations were filed against a large number of officials, businessmen and politicians. Many of which, however, proved to be false.

Out of the 597 cases, El-Gohary told reporters at a press conference, 195 were shelved and 29 were referred to court. Some 359 cases are still awaiting investigation.

As for the cases relating to former regime figures, six were referred to criminal courts, including those of former upper house speaker Safwat El-Sherif and Mubarak's former secretary Zakaria Azmy.

As for the allegations against Hosni Mubarak and his family, El-Gohary said the IGA had finished its investigations and was awaiting reports from other regulatory bodies.

Several reports have been circulating regarding the Mubaraks' fortune; however, they have not been convicted of any corruption charges so far. Gamal and Alaa Mubarak are currently facing trial for stock market fraud along with several other top Egyptian investment bankers.

The UK government says it has frozen a total of £85 million ($133 million) worth of Egyptian assets belonging to members of the former regime. However, a recent report by the BBC claimed that assets worth millions of pounds sterling – including property in Knightsbridge and Chelsea, along with UK-registered companies belonging to 19 individuals – had been unfrozen by the UK government.

The results of corruption probes against former Egyptian officials remain conflicting. On 13 September former culture minister Farouk Hosni was cleared by a court in Cairo of administrative corruption charges. On that same day, former prime minister Ahmed Nazif was handed a three-year prison sentence after being found guilty of using his political authority to boost his wealth.

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