- Life Style
The Public Funds Prosecution has started interrogations into the former Mubarak regime's alleged illegal privatization activity after receiving reports on the issue Thursday, judicial sources said.
The prosecutor of the agency listened to the testimonies of 19 police officers who submitted reports on seven former ministers and public figures involved in selling public sector companies to private firms and individuals at less than half their values and in contravention of the law. The officers revealed that security and military bodies approved the deals.
The officers gave an example of a public company that owned land in Sinai and required approval by military and security authorities to complete the sale to a group of businesspeople.
The approval by those authorities in this case was not a crime in itself, the officers said, because it did not affect the sale price.
Judicial sources said the prosecution will summon the defendants, who include former Prime Minister Atef Ebeid and former Public Enterprise Minister Mokhtar Khattab, after Eid al-Adha for interrogations.
The same sources added the prosecutor will present the accused with sales documents and the testimonies of the workers and officials from the sold companies.
Reports prepared by five senior officials at the Public Funds Investigation Authority and the Administrative Control Authority also revealed that Gamal Mubarak is involved in one of the cases.
The prosecutor had received from the Central Auditing Agency reports labeled as "important" and that included more than 35 violations in the sale of public sector companies. The reports did not include information on all privatized companies, so the prosecution demanded more information.
The reports included charges for Ebeid and other former ministers who offered to sell public companies to private businesspeople at below-market prices. They mentioned certain deals, such as the sale of the Tanta Flax and Oils Company and the Food Industries Holding Company in Qena.
In other cases, businesspeople themselves offered to buy the public companies at artificially low prices, the reports also said, but they did clarify whether public officials received kickbacks in return.
The defendants stand accused of squandering about LE7 billion in the sale of 11 out of 19 companies that were privatized, judicial sources said, adding that Gamal Mubarak was involved with Ebeid in the sale of the Tanta Flax and Oils Company at less than the price set by the committee formed to determine its value.
The sources added that the Administrative Control Authority and the Public Funds Investigation Authority are finalizing the new reports and are expected to send them soon to the prosecution to be attached to the investigation files. The sources said there are 13 new reports.
Abdel Naby Frag, head of the legal affairs department in the Food Industries Holding Company, confirmed that the Administrative Control Authority and Public Funds Investigation Authority demanded documents and papers related to the privatization of the National Plastics Company and the National Paper Company.
Al-Masry Al-Youm was informed that a large number of workers in many privatized companies recently headed to the headquarters of the Administrative Control Authority to submit hundreds of documents proving the waste of hundreds of millions of Egyptian pounds in the sales of their companies.
Translated from the Arabic Edition