Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Egyptian Summer Tales : The return of the cronies

On Monday , a Cairo court lifted the travel ban and unfroze the assets of former Mubarak-era PM Ahmed Nazif and his family. The court decision comes after the acquittal of Nazif in his retrial over illicit gains charges.
Just like Gamal Mubarak , Ahmed Nazif was seen lately in public more often.
Most people believe that Nazif will take the first flight and leave the country ASAP.
Earlier Saturday , the illicit gains authority announced that it lifted the name of Mubarak business tycoon Hussein Salem and his family members off the travel ban and the assets freeze in Egypt after their reconciliation.

Last week, the Egyptian government represented in the illicit gains authority announced that it reached out to a reconciliation agreement with the runaway businessman where he would give up 75% of his assets in Egypt and outside it in exchange for dropping charges against him.

The army : No deals with Mubarak or any of the former regime
icons and the photo of Wael Ghonim with Essam Sharaf in the front
page of Akhbar newspaper "April 2011" 

According to the statement of the illicit gains authority , Salem who is currently living in Spain as Spanish citizen gave up LE 5.3 billion ( USD 799 million) which allegedly 75% of his assets "about LE 7 billion.
This is very interesting because that statement contradicts with what the same authority announced in October 2011 about Hussein Salem's wealth and assets in Egypt and outside it.

In October 2011, the illicit gains authority announced that  it got documents that proved Salem and his family transferred more than LE 24 billion to several banks abroad in 6 months following the 25 January revolution and the ouster of Mubarak. "They transferred their assets into liquid money".

In the same statement , the head of the authority Assem El-Gohary then hinted out those  LE24 billion transferred aboard did not represent the true fortune of Salem and his family as there were other real estate assets owned by business mogul abroad including Jolie Ville Galleria mall in Romania.
So how suddenly Salem and family's fortune shrunk from " LE 24 billion " {Which is known to the authorities} to become  "LE 7 billion" !?? This is one important remark
The illicit gains authority listed in another statement about the assets " highlighted in Yellow" Hussein Salem gave up to the state and seriously speaking , those are not for real 75% of this man's assets inside Egypt.

He gave up 8 villas , Jolie Ville Golf and resort , South Sinai water company in Sharm El-Sheikh , A villa in North coast "Salem and family got one villa in North Coast !!?", two buildings in Heliopolis , a palace in New Cairo , a farm in Al-Natroun valley , 36 acres on a Nile bank somewhere in Egypt,shares in Crocodile for tourism Company and Theodore electricity company "could not find anything about it online" as well more than LE 123 million liquid money !!!
Seriously speaking, this could no be 75% of the assets of that former intelligence official who started his fortune along with Mubarak in the White Wings Corporation and its shady arms deals to Egypt in the late 1970s.

Despite claims that Hussein Salem's talks with the government started in March 2016, we find in Al-Shorouk archives in January 2015 Salem wanted to reconcile with the Egyptian government offering LE 27 billion "equal to 85% of his assets according to the report"   
The report including a list of Salem's assets as presented by his lawyers during then and they were definitely more than what is listed in August 2016 as his 75% of his assets.
In July 2015 , former Justice minister Ahmed El-Zend "who himself is overshadowed by accusations of corruption" revealed that the talks with Hussein Salem reached to the level that he would give up only LE 5 billion because he wanted to die in Egypt !!

In November 2015, El-Zend stated that the talks reached to up to LE 10 billion.

It seems that Hussein Salem got what he wanted and he is back for LE 5 billion only !!
It is worth to mention n March 2015 , President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree to pass a panel code amendment that allows the government to pursue reconciliation in profiteering cases outside judiciary even if the Judiciary said its final word in those cases !!
Back to the illicit gains authority , it also announced that it received 26 requests from another other Mubarak-era figures for reconciliation with the government.

Ten requests were accepted and only LE 302 million ( USD 34 million) were retrieved.
Do not get me wrong but Hussein Salem and his family won't return Egypt "if they return at all" as poor because there are offshore accounts that nobody knows anything about.
It is worth to mention that Salem started talks to reconcile with the Egyptian government since 2013.
According to Justice Minister Hossam Abdel Rahim in April, the Egyptian government represented in the illicit gains authority is currently holding talks with Mubarak cronies in not less than 35 corruption cases.

Now a week earlier , a Cairo misdemeanor court sentenced former head of Central Auditing Organization "CAO" one year in prison and an LE 20,000 fine for "spreading false news" about the size of corruption in Egypt's public sector.
The court also suspended this sentence till the appeal for LE 20,000 bail which Hisham Geneina paid right away.

By the way, the name of Geneina is being repeated as suggested presidential candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections in 2018 against Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on the social media.  "Wait for another post about him"
You can find the news of Ahmed Nazif , Hussein Salem and Hisham Geneina are unrelated but actually, they are.

It is not about the defeat of the 25 January revolution and the triumph of corruption but about the state's failure to combat corruption in the first place.
May be we wouldn't have a terrible economic crisis if there were a better economic plan and better true counter-corruption efforts in Egypt as well true political and legislative reforms that ensure transparency and accountability.

Sources :

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