Former trade minister requests reconciliation, offers funds

Former trade minister requests reconciliation, offers funds

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Mon, 04/02/2013 - 18:22

Former Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid filed a request with Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah for reconciliation in exchange for the return of squandered public funds.

Rachid, who is currently out of the country, was indicted three times in 2011 on charges of squandering public funds in cases of industry monopoly.

In January, the government called for financial reconciliation with figures from former President Hosni Mubarak's regime, a mechanism widely seen as an effort to inject funds into an economy in crisis.

Explaining the move, Mostafa Husseiny, a senior prosecutor for the public funds prosecution, said that several former regime figures and ministers had made requests for reconciliation in exchange for the return of stolen funds.

Some officials estimate that LE1 billion in stolen funds would be paid to the state after reconciliation deals with ex-officials tried in cases of corruption and money squandering.

Rachid's lawyer, Gamil Saeed, filed a report with the public prosecutor to call for questioning steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz, a former leader figure in the now dissolved National Democratic Party, for allegedly squandering funds in a case involving steel licenses. The complaint claims that Ezz squandered millions, and seeks to absolve Rachid of criminal responsibility.

Rachid was first referred to trial in February 2011 on accusations of profiteering and squandering public funds.

In one case, Rachid was accused of improperly giving production licenses to Ezz. Former Industrial Development Authority head Amr Assal also faced charges in the case.

In June of the same year, a criminal court sentenced Rachid in absentia to five years imprisonment for profiteering and squandering public funds and was ordered to pay LE18.8 million to the state.

He was also sentenced to another five years in prison in July for misusing public funds and fined LE4 million, as were two other business executives.

In September Rachid was sentenced to 15 years and a fine of LE1.4 billion. In the same case, Ezz and Assal were sentenced to 10 years in prison and a joint fine of LE660 million.