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Egypt officials nabbed in anti-graft clampdown

Bank manager took bribes to ensure private firm wins commercial tenders

Gulf News

Cairo: Egyptian authorities have arrested several senior provincial officials in different parts of the nation on suspicion of graft as part of a stepped-up campaign against corruption, legal sources said on Thursday.

Eight high-ranking civil servants have been detained for allegedly committing unlawful acts in return for bribes in separate cases, the sources added.

They include a manager at a state-owned bank who allegedly took bribes of a disclosed value from a private firm in exchange for unlawfully making it the successful bidder in commercial tenders worth 9 million Egyptian pounds (Dh 1.8 million), the sources said.

The other seven suspects are senior officials in six provinces in charge of issuing permits for construction of houses and other approvals of owning plots of land, state media reported

The arrests have been made over the past two days by the Administrative Oversight Authority, a powerful anti-graft state agency that has exposed a series of corruption cases in recent months, the semi-official newspaper Al Ahram said.

Last week, an aide to the governor of the Suez city, was arrested on charges of making illegal gains from his job. The suspect, identified as Shukry Sarhan, is being questioned by the high state security prosecutors

In late August, deputy governor of Alexandria city was arrested allegedly for receiving more than 1 million Egyptian pounds in bribes from some businessmen in order to block the removal of their illegally constructed properties on state-owned land and help them avoid paying fines for these violations.

Al Kholy, who has been in the post since 2015, is also accused of wasting LE10 million in state money as a result of the alleged complicity with the businessmen. She has yet to go on trial.

In April this year, Egypt’s top appeals court upheld a 10-year jail ruling against ex-agriculture minister, Salah Helal, who was convicted of taking bribes when he was in office.

The crackdown comes as the country is experiencing economic woes blamed on years of unrest that followed the 2011 uprising that forced long-time president Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Ordinary Egyptians feel the pinch of recent harsh economic reforms that have includes cuts in state subsidies and flotation of the local currency, steps that secured the country a badly needed loan of 12 billion dollars over three years from the International Monetary Fund.

President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi has vowed relentless fight against corruption since he took office in 2014.