Islamist party stands by founder, slams presidential candidate Shafiq

Ahram Online, Tuesday 15 May 2012

The verbal exchange between presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq and MP Essam Sultan carries on as Wasat Party calls allegations the founder spied for Mubarak security apparatus absurd

Ahmed Shafiq shortly after Monday’s press conference (Photo: Sherif Tarek)

The Islamist Wasat Party accused presidential contender Ahmed Shafiq of making “false claims” against MP and party founder Essam Sultan, who had earlier launched corruption accusations against the last Mubarak prime minister.

Sultan submitted to the parliament on Sunday what he claimed to be official documents proving that Shafiq had exploited his position as head of Young Air Force Officers Association many years ago by selling thousands of acres of state land in Ismailiya, earmarked for the Association, at reduced prices to Hosni Mubarak's sons.

Parliament speaker Saad El-Katatni of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party referred the case to the public prosecution on the same day.

Shafiq, who is one of three leading candidates for Egypt's presidency according to recent polls, in retaliation, held a press conference on Monday to deny the accusations. He also tried to discredit the MP by telling reporters that Sultan used to work as an informant for the notorious state security, which was dismantled shortly after the January 25 revolution.

The next day, Wasat Party described Shafiq’s allegations as “ridiculous.”

Abul Ela Mady, the head of the party, said in a press release on Tuesday, “Accusing sultan that he was a state security informant is absurd."

“The national opposition figures who stood against the ousted regime, which Shafiq belonged to, should not reply to such accusations.”

Shafiq also said during the conference that he was not the head of the Young Air Force Officers Association when “Mubarak's sons [Alaa and Gamal] paid the money to buy the land in 1991.”

However, he said he had simply notarised the deal in 1993 as part of his duties then as the head of the association.

Shafiq was appointed as chairman of the association in 1992.

Mady sees contradiction in the statements.

“He says that his role was only to notarise the deal, and forgot that this step is fundamental to register the deed,” he added.

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