The Court of Cassation lifted the travel bans previously imposed on former ministerial officials Thursday who were accused of embezzlement, after they returned a total of EGP 178m of the EGP 2.388bn in allegedly illicit gains.
Dubbed as the “Interior Ministry corruption case”, the court accused senior officials from the ministry, aides of former minister Habib Al-Adly, officials at the finance ministry,and the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) of embezzling public funds during Mubarak’s regime.
Case judge Mohamed Abdel Rahman told local newspapers that the accused acknowledged their possession of the funds, in the form of “rewards” received for their services. However, since August, investigations suggested that the money was illicitly gained.
According to Abdel Rahman, the court nonetheless failed to prove the criminal evidence against them in gaining those funds, and he approved to drop charges against them once they repaid the seized amounts.
On the other hand, Al-Adly’s travel ban was lifted not because of returning the funds, but because the travel ban against him expired after six-months, and was not renewed.
According to the court’s investigations, the defendants who refunded their money included former investigations chief at the National Security Apparatus, Major General Mohsen Al-Faham who returned EGP 37.4m and Al-Adly’s former deputy, Ismail Al-Shaer, who returned EGP 10.3m.
The list also included civil servants in the Ministry of Interior, others at the Ministry of Transportation, the CAO who were in charge of budgeting the Ministry of Interior’s funds, and major generals of different governorates assisting the former interior minister.
In July 2015, the court referred the defendants to trial and previously scheduled their first trial session in early February 2016. Minister of Justice Ahmed Al-Zind said in a phone interview with a private TV channel Thursday that more funds are expected to be retained from figures of Mubarak’s regime.
Al-Zind said the funds will be retained through reconciliation with the defendants. On top of the list of defendants is fugitive businessman Husseim Salem, who previously offered to return embezzled funds in return for dropping charges against him, along with 10 others.