Cairo: Egyptian authorities this week arrested several state officials over suspected graft as part of a draconian anti-corruption campaign that started some years ago.

The Administrative Oversight Authority, a state anti-graft agency, arrested four senior officials in the Supply Ministry, which is responsible in Egypt for making food items available at the local market for reasonable prices.

The four were identified as the chairman of the Holding Company for Food Industries; his office manager, a media advisor to the supply minister, and a liaison consultant with the parliament. They are accused of taking 2 million Egyptian pounds (Dh411,500) in bribes from food suppliers in order to unlawfully pick them for business, according to the Administrative Oversight Authority.

The suspects, whose names were not released, were arrested on Tuesday in the Supply Ministry building after their illegal transactions were recorded, legal sources said.

The High State Security Prosecutions on Thursday ordered them jailed for four days pending further questioning. The case is the third corruption-related incident to be uncovered in the same ministry over the past four years.

Earlier this week, authorities arrested the deputy head of the Sohag airport in South Egypt on suspicion of dealing in drugs. The suspect was found in possession of around 10,000 drug pills that he had hidden in a vest with the intention of smuggling them through a passenger to Kuwait, media reported.

The suspect, identified only as Majdy, faces charges of influence peddling and dealing in drugs.

The arrests come as Egypt is bracing for further cuts in energy subsidy, the latest in austerity measures aimed at trimming the budget deficit and healing the ailing economy.

In 2016, Egypt floated its local pound and slashed state fuel subsidy as part of tough economic reforms that the government said were necessary. The steps unleashed hikes in prices of different goods, but secured the country a 12-billion-dollar over three years from the IMF.

President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi has vowed relentless fight against corruption since he took office in 2014. Several state officials have since been arrested on corruption charges in separate cases.

In January, Governor of Menufia Hesham Abdul Basset was arrested on charges of taking bribery and wasting public money

He allegedly took a bribe of 2 million Egyptian pounds from two businessmen in return for offering them a piece of state-owned land at a low price.

The market value of the land was estimated at 20 million Egyptian pounds. Both businessmen involved in the case were arrested too.

Last year, Deputy Governor of the coastal city of Alexandria, Soad Al Khuly, was arrested for purportedly receiving more than 1 million Egyptian pounds in bribery from some businessmen in order to block the removal of their illegally constructed properties on state-owned land in the city and help them avoid paying fines for these violations.

There has been yet no court ruling yet in the separate cases of both officials, who are in jail.

In April last 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.