The Giza Criminal Court ordered a EGP 20,000 fine Wednesday for former head of the Central Auditing Organization (CAO) Hisham Geneina for defaming former justice minister Adel Abdul Hamid, according state-run news agency MENA.
The verdict also included a fine of the same value for journalist in privately-owned newspaper Al-Wafd, Tahani Ibrahim, and a EGP 10,000 fine fir former editor-in-chief of Al-Wafd Magdi Sirhan.
The court also obliges the three defendants to pay EGP 100,000 in compensation to Abdul Hamid.
In February 2014, prosecution had ordered the referral of the defendants to the criminal court on charges of publishing “inflammatory” content about the former minister in the 29 September 2013 issue of the newspaper.
Geneina had accused Abdul Hamid, in an interview with the newspaper, of unlawfully obtaining finances and seizing state funds during his time as a board member of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
Geneina was dismissed from his position as head of the CAO, the top independent state regulatory authority, on 28 March by a presidential order.
On the same day, the Supreme State Security Prosecution declared that Geneina had made misleading statement on the value of money lost due to state corruption, estimating it at EGP 600bn in 2015.
In a statement aired by state television, the prosecution said the amount cited by Geneina as having been lost due to corruption covered the period from 2008 to 2012, and not 2015. It added that Geneina’s report was inaccurate and included “a repeated count of incidents of corruption over the years”.
The prosecution further accused Geneina of misuse of power by collecting and keeping important information and documents on corruption, claiming that investigating corruption does not fall under CAO jurisdiction.
Following Geneina’s statements, which were first published in the news, the Egyptian presidency denied “press reports” and ordered investigations into the claims.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi formed a fact-finding committee headed by the head of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) to examine what was communicated to the press and present its own report to the public.
Geneina was appointed by ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2012 for a term of four years, subject to renewal.
Geneina has previously been come under fire from a number of judges over press statements he made in 2012, in which he claimed the existence of major corruption in the justice system and the Judges Club, then headed by former minister of justice Ahmed Al-Zind.