Egypt ex-ministers held over fraud

Former information minister and state broadcasting chief arrested, while others face charges of misuse of public funds.

    Mass protests in Egypt brought an end to Hosni Mubarak's rule as president [Reuters]

    Egypt's former information minister and the ex-chairman of state TV and radio have been detained on corruption allegations, the latest moves by the country's military rulers against senior officials of Hosni Mubarak's ousted regime.

    Anas al-Fiqqi and former state broadcasting chief Osama al-Sheikh were both arrested from their homes on Thursday.

    Security officials said an investigation into al-Fiqqi was looking into the fate of about $340,000 he had collected in donations to support a film festival in Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

    Al-Fiqqi never presented documents explaining how he spent the money, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    El-Sheikh allegedly used state money to privately produce television programmes.

    Criminal court

    Authorities also referred to the trial of two former cabinet ministers and Ahmed Ezz, a steel magnate and former top official of Mubarak's National Democratic Party.

    Ezz, former trade minister Rashid Mohamed Rashid and ex-housing minister Ahmed al-Maghrabi face charges of profiteering and misuse of public funds.

    Three other businessmen, including Lotfy Mansur, the brother of a former minister, were also referred to the criminal court.

    The prosecution accused al-Maghrabi and the businessmen of illegally selling state-owned land in the October 6 suburb to their Palm Hills company.

    Habib al-Adly, the former minister of the interior, and Zoheir Garranah, the ex-tourism minister, were arrested on fraud charges after Mubarak's resignation on February 11. 

    The judiciary has also banned former culture minister Faruk Hosni, who stood unsuccessfully to lead UNESCO in 2009, from leaving the country pending further inquiries.

    Mubarak stepped down after nationwide protests which first erupted on January 25, eventually leaving at least 384 people dead and many others injured and detained.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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