Cairo Criminal Court has postponed to 5 February a ruling on whether or not to freeze funds and seize assets that 26 former regime officials allegedly received as a gift from Al-Ahram newspaper.
The public funds prosecution is accusing former officials—including former President Hosni Mubarak, his wife, their two children and their wives, as well as former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and several cabinet members—of receiving gifts worth millions.
Prosecutors said Mubarak alone received gifts worth EGP 7 million between 2006 and 2011. They are demanding the court seize the assets and freeze the funds of these officials before the case goes to trial.
Other accused officials include former People’s Assembly Speaker Ahmed Fathi Sorour, former Shura Council Speaker Safwat El-Sherif, former presidential chief of staff Zakariya Azmy and former finance minister Youssef Boutros Ghaly.
Defence lawyers argued that their clients had actually paid back the cost of these gifts, including former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mofeed Shehab and parliament Secretary general Sami Mahran.
Sorour’s lawyer claimed the former speaker of parliament had actually made a museum out of these gifts and did not use them himself.
The public funds prosecution’s report stated that former Al-Ahram chairman Ibrahim Nafie had started the tradition of giving expensive gifts to high ranking officials back in 1984 and his successors continued it up until the revolution in January 2011.
Al-Ahram has been facing financial difficulties for the past eight years and currently owes EGP 1.6 billion in taxes.