Monday,27 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1382, (22 - 28 February 2018)
Monday,27 May, 2019
Issue 1382, (22 - 28 February 2018)

Ahram Weekly

In legal limbo

Mona El-Nahhas on the legal status of former top auditor, Hisham Geneina

Hisham Geneina, former head of the Central Auditing Authority (CAA), was remanded in custody on 13 February pending investigations into a complaint filed against him by the military prosecutor.

Geneina is accused of threatening national security after claiming in an interview that former military chief of staff Sami Anan possesses documents which incriminate senior officials.

According to Geneina, Anan kept the documents outside Egypt.

Geneina was a key member of Anan’s presidential campaign team before the candidate  was barred from running in the elections because he had not sought the permissions required to run for president or taken the steps necessary to terminate his military service. He is currently detained by military police.

Anan’s son and lawyer both say Geneina’s claims are unfounded.

Remanded in custody at the request of the military prosecutor for 15 days pending investigations, no charges have so far been filed against Geneina by military prosecutors. He does, however, face charges of defaming Anan and misrepresenting his military history. Anan has denied he has ever been in possession of the documents Geneina claims he is keeping outside Egypt and has instructed his lawyer to sue Geneina.

Anan is reported to have said that as a former military chief he would never undermine the reputation of the Armed Forces, and his lawyer has said that “everything mentioned in Geneina’s statements relating to the chief of staff is untrue.”

Following Anan’s denial Geneina requested that Nasserist figure Maasoum Marzouk, activist Hazem Abdel-Azim and political science professor Hazem Hosni give witness statements .

A 16 February statement attributed to Geneina’s defence team claims Geneina suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a 27 January attack in which he was stabbed and seriously wounded by assailants near his home. While some commentators see the attack as being politically motivated the Ministry of Interior claims it was the result of a traffic dispute.

Geneina’s defence team say the stress of the assault, and the effect of the medication and tranquilisers he has been prescribed, mean Geneina’s recent statements “do not reflect his conscious will”.

Geneina’s daughter Shorouk has confirmed the statement was written in consultation with leading physicians in Egypt and abroad. Geneina’s lawyers are currently arguing their client should be removed from detention and transferred to a specialist hospital.

Yet on his Facebook page Ali Taha, one of Geneina’s lawyers, claimed the statement about Geneina’s psychological condition was written by family members and friends and Geneina did not see or approve it.

On 16 February Taha said he expected his client to be referred to the prison hospital for a medical check-up in response to a decree issued by the military prosecutor-general. The report on Geneina’s health will be then presented to the military prosecution.

The investigations are being conducted by the military prosecution because the statements Geneina made relate to the army, says lawyer Essam Al-Islamboli. Asked about Geneina’s current legal status Al-Islamboli said it will only become clear when the current investigation ends and charges, if any, are brought.

Geneina, 61, was sacked from the CAA in 2016 after saying in a televised interview that corruption had cost Egypt more than LE600 billion in recent years. Tried on charges of spreading false news, Geneina received a one-year suspended jail sentence.

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