Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1281, (4 - 10 February 2016)
Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Issue 1281, (4 - 10 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Officials repay millions in ‘bonus incentives’

The prosecution of 80 former Interior Ministry officials charged with corruption has collapsed

Al-Ahram Weekly

Charges against 80 former Interior Ministry officials accused of pocketing public funds between 2000 and 2011 have been dropped, reports Ahmed Morsy.

The defendants were referred to trial in July 2015, two years after investigations into the misuse of Interior Ministry funds were completed.

“I was commissioned to investigate the case in December 2012 and in July 2013 finished my report,” said Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, the investigating prosecutor, speaking in a telephone interview with CBC channel.

“The investigations did not uncover incontrovertible evidence that the funds were appropriated illegally and as a consequence the charges had to be dropped. All the defendants claimed the monies were paid in the form of monthly incentives.”

Thursday’s decision to drop the charges means that travel bans on the 80 defendants will be lifted.

According to media reports, the officials have now repaid the sums they received as incentives during Habib Al-Adli’s tenure as interior minister. Those said to have repaid their bonus payments include Major General Mohsen Al-Fahham, the former head of investigations at State Security, who is reported to have returned LE37.4 million of incentive payments.

Al-Adli’s former deputy, Ismail Al-Shaer, returned LE10.3 million. A further 17 major generals are thought to have returned LE95 million between them. Some media outlets have reported that returned “incentive payments” received by the 80 officials total LE178 million.

As well as Ministry of Interior officials, the defendants included employees at the Ministry of Transport and staff at the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO), in charge of overseeing the allocation of Ministry of Interior funds.

Minister of Justice Ahmed Al-Zend told a private TV channel last week that the government expects more funds to be returned by Mubarak-era figures soon.

The government’s policy of reconciliation with corrupt figures — a tacit agreement to drop outstanding charges in return for the repayment of illicitly acquired funds — has been heavily criticised by opposition activists.

“Now the looted LE178 million has been returned to the Interior Ministry will it be distributed to new officials in the form of incentives and bonuses? Do we have to wait for another revolution to recover the money?” asked activist Mohamed Seif Al-Dawla.  “And do the authorities think the public is so easily fooled it will believe 80 officials were legally paid LE178 million in bonuses?”

Said activist Wael Abbas, “Al-Fahham appears to have been paid an annual incentive bonus of $500,000, a quarter more than the total annual salary received by the president of the United States.”

Al-Adli, who served who as Hosni Mubarak’s minister of interior from 1997 until 2011, was released from detention in March 2015 after being acquitted on charges of using his position to extort sums amounting to LE181 million. In 2014, Al-Adli was acquitted, along with six of his senior aides and the former president, of conspiring in the killing of protesters during the January 2011 uprising.

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