The defence team of former Al-Ahram chairman Mamdouh Al-Wali has appealed Monday a judicial decision to detain him for 15 days pending investigations into corruption-related charges.
Al-Wali is being investigated for “facilitating the seizure of the public funds of Al-Ahram institution”, said Mahmoud Al-Sherbiny, one of the lawyers on his defence team. The detention decision came after the judicial investigation commission heard statements from Al-Wali.
Al-Sherbiny however said Al-Wali brought in money for the institution. He said that a businessman had owed Al-Ahram over EGP 60m in trade transactions, years before Al-Wali’s tenure as chairman began. During Al-Wali’s tenure, he approached Al-Ahram to discuss a settlement.
Al-Wali and the board of director of the institution agreed that they would settle. As per the agreement, the businessman paid EGP 5m and the rest was to be paid in instalments.
“This was a decision made by the board of directors, not just Al-Wali,” Al-Sherbiny said.
Al-Ahram is a mega media organisation, run by the state, whose chairman oversees 83 entities including 18 daily newspapers and magazines and 26 specialised websites. Al-Wali was appointed as chairman by the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Shura Council in September, 2012, during the rule of ousted president and Brotherhood politician Mohamed Morsi. His tenure lasted a year. Al-Wali was also head of the Press Syndicate.
Al-Sherbiny said Al-Wali does not belong to any political faction. “He is just a journalist,” he said.
The investigation into Al-Wali began when eight members of Al-Ahram’s General Assembly filed a complaint against him.