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MP charges ministries with providing Shafiq with unsanctioned security

Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan says defence, interior ministries have provided Mubarak-era presidential finalist Ahmed Shafiq with security services costing in excess of LE2 million

Ahram Online, Tuesday 5 Jun 2012
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In the latest chapter of the war of words between presidential finalist and last Mubarak-era premier Ahmed Shafiq and Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan, the latter on Tuesday announced plans to demand that the People's Assembly (the lower house of Egypt's parliament) question the ministers of defence and interior over allegations that both ministries had illegally provided  Shafiq – who currently holds no government position – with protection.

According to Sultan, the total cost of such services to the public purse is in excess of LE2 million.

Making the complaint on Facebook, Sultan stated that a large number of military and other armoured vehicles and soldiers had been used to guard Shafiq's private residence in the New Cairo district of the capital.

"How are these services being financed? From the state budget?" Sultan asked. "Are all presidential candidates being provided with security?"

Sultan's complaint is only one of many made against Shafiq since the latter announced his intention to contest the presidency late last year.

In mid-May, Shafiq denied claims by Sultan that he had exploited his position when serving as the head of Egypt's Young Air Force Officers Association by selling thousands of acres of state land to the ousted president's sons at reduced prices.

Shafiq later turned the tables on Sultan, however, charging him with being a former informant for Egypt's State Security apparatus following Sultan's resignation from the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1990s.

On 17 May, Sultan demanded that the People's Assembly question Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim over anticipated electoral fraud in Shafiq's favour.

Sultan went on to charge the interior ministry with adding names of military and police personnel to voter registration records with a view to bolstering Shafiq's electoral prospects. According to Egyptian electoral law, serving military and police personnel are barred from casting ballots in national elections.

In a highly-anticipated televised interview on the CBC television network on Monday, Shafiq asserted that any further discussion between Sultan and himself would "take place in the courtroom." 

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