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Update: Egypt's ex-housing minister detained for 15 days 'pending investigation'

Ibrahim Suleiman is the latest ex-minister to face corruption investigations for a string of suspect land deals

Ahram Online, Wednesday 6 Apr 2011
Ibrahem Soliman

Egypt's former minister of housing will be remanded in custody for 15 days pending investigations into charges of corruption and wasting public money.

Ibrahim Suleiman was arrested earlier on Wednesday morning for profiteering, wasting public money and giving away plots of land to his relatives and business associates. He is also accused of facilitating the granting of loans to certain companies owned by relatives of ex-president Hosni Mubarak.

Suleiman, a former member of Parliament for the Gamaliya and Manshiyat Nasser districts of Cairo, has been facing accusations since 2008 when he is alleged to have illegally allocated large plots of land for the building of upscale residential areas. These areas include Madinaty, owned by development tycoon Hesham Talaat Mostafa and Beverly Hills, owned by Alaa Mubarak, the son of the ousted president.

Suleiman is also accused of directly allocating eight plots of land in the Fifth Settlement to his wife and two children, and another 20 plots to his brothers-in-law and their children. This was contrary to a law which only permits the allocation of one plot of land per single family.

The minister allegedly also gave his relatives plots of land and villas in Marina, as well as 1,500 feddans in New Cairo, Sheikh Zayed and 6 October to one businessman who had been facing difficulties meeting his payments since 1994.

Former minister of housing Ahmed El-Maghrabi, former minister of tourism Zoheir Garana and former minister of agriculture Amin Abaza are currently facing charges of selling state-owned land at knockdown prices to business tycoons close to Mubarak's younger son Gamal.

The court previously decided to freeze the assets of Rachid and Ghali, along with Ahmed Ezz, a senior NDP official, and five other officials accused of appropriating and squandering public funds.

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