Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1121, 8-14 November
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1121, 8-14 November

Ahram Weekly

333/333

A new bank account that aims at recovering the country’s looted monies is doomed from the outset‭, ‬reports‭ ‬Nesma Nowar

Al-Ahram Weekly

Minister of Finance Momtaz Al-Said has called upon citizens to support the Egyptian economy by donating to the Central Bank of Egypt account number 333/333‭, ‬opened by President Mohamed Morsi and named‭ ‬“Egypt’s Renaissance”‭.‬
The bank account is set to receive donations by Egyptian citizens and will also be used to deposit illicit funds retrieved locally and from abroad‭. ‬Al-Said said in a press statement that this account would respond to the desire by many Egyptian businessmen‭ ‬living abroad to support the Egyptian economy‭. ‬He added that it will be supervised by the Finance Ministry and the Central Auditing Agency and that the account’s balance will be announced periodically‭. ‬
During his visit to Assiut last week‭, ‬President Morsi announced the opening of the bank account‭, ‬emphasising its role in recovering state monies acquired through illegal means‭. ‬He said‭: ‬“Anyone who wants to cleanse himself of corruption can put their money in this account‭.‬”
But the new account has faced criticism‭. ‬On Sunday‭, ‬lawyer Samir Sabri filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court against the‭ ‬president’s decision to open the bank account‭. ‬The lawsuit stated that President Morsi has taken the decision hurriedly and without careful study‭.‬
“This account will not be able to collect a single pound‭,‬”‭ ‬Shehata Mohamed Shehata‭, ‬director of the Arab Centre for Integrity and Transparency‭, ‬told‭ ‬Al-Ahram Weekly‭. ‬He said it is nonsensical for corrupt businessmen to put their money in the account‭, ‬as doing so would be an indication that they were in fact corrupt‭. ‬Shehata affirmed Morsi’s obligation as head of the state to‭ ‬“recover the country’s funds and fight corruption”‭.‬
A number of political parties have opposed the‭ ‬“Renaissance”‭ ‬bank account‭, ‬saying it indicates the state’s failure in tracking down corrupt individuals‭. ‬
According to Samir Radwan, former finance minister,‭ ‬“We should not mix between the legal means to regain funds and addressing the public’s conscience and emotions‭.‬”‭ ‬He said the government must decide whether or not it wants to reach a settlement with businessmen and other members of the former regime who are currently in jail‭, ‬underlining the importance of recovering ill-gotten monies‭.‬
In March 2011‭, ‬the government of Essam Sharaf‭, ‬in which Radwan was a minister‭, ‬created an account under the name‭ ‬“Contributions to support the Egyptian economy”‭, ‬to accept deposits and donations from citizens for the purpose of supporting the Egyptian economy in the aftermath of the 25‭ ‬January Revolution‭. ‬The number of the account was 2512011‭, ‬the date of the revolution‭.‬
The account succeeded in collecting LE40‭ ‬million‭, ‬according to Radwan‭. ‬However‭, ‬he suggests issuing bonds for Egyptians living abroad as the best way to attract their funds‭. ‬He cited Israel and India as examples where the government was able to collect large amounts of money from citizens living abroad through bonds‭.‬

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