Travel ban lifted on Mubarak-era officials implicated in 'Ahram gifts' trial

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Mar 2013

Criminal court lifts travel ban on ousted president, family members and aides accused of receiving 'gifts' from Egypt's government-run Al-Ahram publishing house before revolution

Gamal Mubarak (left), Former chief of staff Zakaria Azmi (Photo: Reuters)

A Cairo criminal court on Sunday ordered the lifting of a travel ban on former president Hosni Mubarak, his immediate family and a handful of aides involved in the ongoing ‘Al-Ahram gifts trial.’ The court also ruled to unfreeze the defendants’ financial assets.

The court decision applied to Mubarak, his wife, their two sons and the latter’s wives, in addition to former presidential chief-of-staff Zakaria Azmi, former interior minister Habib El-Adli and former secretary-general of Mubarak’s now-defunct National Democratic Party.

The defendants have all been accused of illegally obtaining ‘gifts’ worth millions of Egyptian pounds from prominent state publishing house Al-Ahram.

In January, Egypt’s prosecutor-general lifted a travel ban on ten Mubarak-era officials after the latter reportedly reimbursed the state for ‘gifts’ received from Al-Ahram during the Mubarak era.

According to a report issued by Egypt’s Central Auditing Organisation (CAO), gifts to the former president alone amounted to some LE7 million, which he received in the form of jewellery, watches and clothing.

The same CAO report stated that Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Nazif had received gifts worth a total of some LE1.7 million.

The former members of Al-Ahram’s board of directors who allegedly gave the gifts are also currently under investigation.

While investigators are currently looking into gifts given by the Al-Ahram publishing house during the period from 2006 to 2011, investigations could be extended back to 1984 and expanded to include more officials.

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