Egypt- CAO not entitled to reopen 'Presidential Palaces' embezzlement case: Official

(MENAFN- Daily News Egypt) The media spokesperson of the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) denied the agency's involvement in submitting a request to reopen the file of the 'Presidential Palaces' embezzlement case following the cabinet's resignation, reported state-owned Al-Ahram Saturday.

News on the reopening of the case file circulated on online news platforms following the resignation of Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb's cabinet, according to the media spokesperson Osama Al-Maraghy.

Former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were charged with acquiring almost EGP 126m from the Presidential Palace budget and using the money for the construction and development of family-owned assets.

Assem Soliman, former deputy of the CAO, told Daily News Egypt that since the case has gone through its legal course and has been adjudicated in the court, the agency is not entitled to inquire on it.

"Before any case is referred to court, the agency could investigate and publish its own reports, which are then sent to the legal authority," explained Soliman. "However, once the case has been referred, the agency becomes shackled, and it cannot comment on the verdict."

It is only through the legal affairs committee that the agency could reopen investigation in a matter that was not initially covered in the case, according to Soliman.

Mubarak and his sons were sentenced to three years in prison, and charged with a fine of EGP 125m in the case. The court had also decided the three had to pay EGP 21.1m to the state.

The Court of Cassation annulled a previous court ruling in May 2014 that sentenced Mubarak to three years in prison, while his sons were handed four-year prison sentences.

Former prime minister Mehleb was also implicated in the case, but had no charges were brought against him, despite court papers originally alleging that he was involved in the graft scheme.

Headed by Mehleb from 2001 to 2012, the Arab Contractors Company was allegedly the public company that authorised the payment of millions of pounds in state funds to maintain the Mubarak family-owned assets. Two company employees were charged in the case, according to news reports.

Several ministers in Mehleb's resigned government faced accusations of corruption. Last week former agriculture minister Salah Helal was arrested on accusations of corruption inside the ministry.

During a press conference in his last visit to Tunisia, Mehleb was asked by a local Tunisian journalist regarding his appointment of the agriculture minister who was accused of corruption, as well as his involvement in the "biggest corruption case in the country", in reference to the Presidential Palaces case.

The former prime minister stormed out of the press conference in response to the journalist's question.

Headed by Hisham Geneina, the CAO was established in 1942 as an independent body tasked with monitoring state funds as well as spending by public figures and others, as stipulated by the law.

Daily News Egypt

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