Ex-housing minister El-Maghrabi remains behind bars despite release order

Ahram Online , Monday 3 Jun 2013

Ahmed El-Maghrabi was ordered to be released from detention pending investigations of new corruption charges; other corruption charges keep him behind bars

minister El-Maghrabi
File photo: Egypt's former Housing Minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi arrives at court in a police vehicle in north Cairo February 23, 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

A Cairo criminal court has ordered the release pending investigation of Mubarak-era housing minister Ahmed El-Maghrabi on Monday, overruling an appeal filed by prosecutors requesting his continued detention.

El-Maghrabi had received a 15-day detention pending investigation on corruption charges.

Prosecutors allege that El-Maghrabi squandered public funds by illegally allocating a piece of public land worth LE4 billion to the Futtaim company, owned by UAE businessman Omar Al-Futtaim.   

In April, a Cairo criminal court acquitted El-Maghrabi of separate charges of squandering public funds in relation to the allocation of state land.

This is not the first time El-Maghrabi has been cleared of corruption charges.

In December 2012, Egypt's Court of Cassation overturned a verdict sentencing him to five years in prison for a similar land deal, in which he is facing retrial.‎

El-Maghabi, who will remain in detention on other corruption charges, briefly served as tourism minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak before he was appointed to the housing ministry in 2005.

His family are prominent in the business community, owning Mansour & Maghrabi Investment Company, which founded real estate developer Palm Hills Development.

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