Egypt jails ex-housing minister over graft

Ahmed Maghrabi given five year prison sentence and fined $12.6m for selling land below market value.

    Maghrabi was among several Mubarak-era officials charged with corruption [AFP]

    An Egyptian court has convicted the country's former housing minister of corruption and sentenced him to five years in prison.

    Ahmed Maghrabi was found guilty on Thursday of intentionally damaging public finances by allowing a businessman to illegally acquire state land. The businessman, Mounir Ghabbour, received a one-year suspended sentence.

    Maghrabi was accused of illegally selling 18 acres of state land  to Ghabbour at a price below the market value.

    The court ordered the two men to repay a total of $12.6m and fined them the same amount.

    The sentencing of Maghrabi, who served under ex-president Hosni Mubarak, follows long jail terms given to other Mubarak-era officials who have been found guilty of corruption.

    The punishments are part of an ongoing campaign by the military-led government to address demands by protesters who toppled the Mubarak regime for swift trial of people accused of wrongdoing.

    Mubarak himself, his wife Suzanne and his powerful sons are being investigated for abuse of power and amassing illegally acquired wealth.

    In May, Habib al-Adly, Egypt's former interior minister, was sentenced to 12 years in jail for money laundering and profiteering.

    Al-Adly is accused of ordering police to fire upon pro-democracy protesters and is one of the most senior ministers from the former government to be put on trial.

    Another former minister, Zoheir Garranah, who headed the tourism portfolio, was sentenced to five years after he was found guilty of handing out tourism licences illegally.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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