Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Egypt’s anti-corruption body yesterday issued a decision to freeze the assets of a number of former Mubarak officials, including the former speaker of the lower house of parliament Fathi Sarour, the former speaker of the upper house of parliament Safwat el-Sherif, the former Mubarak chief of staff Dr. Zakaria Azmi, and former housing minister Mohamed Ibrahim Suleiman. Egypt’s official news agency MENA also reported that the asset freeze applied to their wives and children.
Senior justice ministry official, Essam al-Gawahri, who heads the committee charged with uncovering corruption, imposed a travel ban on the figures mentioned above, and called on the Cairo Criminal Court to hold an emergency meeting to support this decision.
In the same context, lead counsel Safwat Tora, a member of the audit committee of the anti-corruption body was briefed by Major General Mohsen Radi, the head of the committee investigating money laundering of public funds regarding the wealth of Fathi Sarour and his wife, and the illegal use of political influence to make financial profits.
Radi stated to the lead counsel that Sarour’s wealth went far beyond what he could have accumulated based upon his government salary, and speculated that his vast wealth could have been obtained by the illegal exploitation of his political influence as parliamentary speaker, in addition to insider-trading utilizing the special knowledge he would have been in possession of as a senior governmental figure. The report also revealed the presence of secret accounts.
In a related development, a senior judicial source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the anti-corruption body will question Mubarak next week about the former president’s public financial disclosure of his wealth. This is far less than the former president’s actual wealth and financial assets. The official report indicates that the wealth that Mubarak amassed during his presidency was not in line with his presidential salary during this period, and that he may have exploited his position to increase his fortune.
The judicial source also told Asharq Al-Awsat that Mubarak and his family illegally used secret trading codes and different names in their dealings with the Egyptian stock market. This has made it especially difficult for investigative or judicial bodies to uncover these secret codes and the affiliated accounts. In addition to this, the source revealed that a secret account under the name the Alexandria Library was also being utilized in this regard without the knowledge of the Alexandria Library officials.
The Giza Criminal Court yesterday announced that the verdict in the case of corruption and money laundering against former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly would be issued on 5 May 2011. This follows a quick trial that lasted only 4 sessions over approximately one month. The Egyptian Attorney General called for the maximum penalties to be imposed against al-Adly should he be found guilty. He is also set to face trial on 24 April on charges of ordering the use of live ammunition against pro-democracy protestors during the 25 January revolution.