By Farah Bahgat
New recordings of alleged phone calls by Presidential Office Head Major-General Abbas Kamel with some military officials and an Emirati official were leaked on Mekamelin TV channel Sunday.
The phone calls were allegedly made to the UAE’s Minister of Stat,e Sultan Al-Jaber, former military spokesperson Ahmed Ali, and Defence Minister General Sedki Sobhy. They included conversations about funds from the UAE to the Egyptian military, and funding the Tamarod movement, as well as an arriving delegation accompanied by Tony Blair. However, it did not mention the timing or response from the other side of the call.
The first alleged recording with Al-Jaber concerned the deposit meant for the Egyptian military. Kamel said: “I was informed today about the banking deposit that the military spends on projects.”
“Youssef had already transferred the deposit from Abu Dhabi Bank to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), so the bank won’t let them cash it in Egyptian pounds,” he added.
Moreover he said: “This has been going on for two or three days, the bank tells them the deposit is in dollars and that the bank can’t do anything about it. It should be transferred to Egyptian pounds so the military can start working on its project [not specified], and according to the protocol.”
The military spokesperson’s office refused to comment on the leaks.
“If the Prosecutor General sees that the case should be transferred to the military, it will be,” the spokesperson’s office told Daily News Egypt. The spokesperson was commenting on whether the military interferes in investigations held to determine potential fraud in the alleged leaks.
In another alleged phone call with the former military spokesperson Ahmed Ali, Kamel asks whether TV presenter Abdelrehim Ali has aired anything against former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy. Kamel also mentions that he has informed General Mohsen Abdel Nabi about this matter.
The purported phone call with Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi has Kamel ensuring that unknown news of a delegation arriving must not be leaked. He allegedly informed Sobhi that “they need EGP 200,000 from Tamorod’s check balance the following day, and that they have already transferred the part from the United Arab Emirates”.
Additionally, Kamel purportedly informed Sobhi in a separate phone call that the “Emirati delegation arriving on Tuesday might be accompanied by Tony Blair”, and that Tony Blair will meet “the minister” the following day. However, “they insist it won’t be published”, he allegedly said, presumably referring to the news of the arriving delegation.
Kamel allegedly added that Blair will meet General Mahmoud Hegazy, and wanted to meet with then-minister of foreign affairs Nabil Fahmy as well.
Military analyst Khalid Okasha told Daily News Egypt, in response to the Sunday leaks: “The military stated before the leaks were released, that they are fabricated”
“The way in which Al-Sisi and Kamel were welcomed in Saudi Arabia proves the invalidity of these leaks,” he added.
These recordings follow a series of leaks that were allegedly recorded, for either Al-Sisi or the head of his office Abbas Kamel. In January, a recording alleged that Al-Sisi’s office was talking about media figures and what exactly they should be saying on television. A couple of weeks later, a new recording was released, referring to the leaders of Gulf countries, and saying that they have too much money.
Furthermore, Kamel described Gulf leaders in one recording as “half states”, and another recording with the Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred to a case in which journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal’s son is involved.
Mekamelin is the main channels that has been airing these leaks, and is considered a pro-Morsi channel. Two journalists, Farida Ali and Samar Hassan, are detained for affiliation with the channel.