Egypt Independent

Five Salafi organization officials referred to trial in foreign funding case

Five officials from the Salafi organization Ansar al-Sunnah have been referred to criminal court on accusations of illegally receiving foreign funding, judicial sources said Tuesday.

The investigating judge delegated by the Justice Ministry to investigate the case concluded after investigations that the suspects had received large sums of money from NGOs in Qatar and Kuwait and spent them in unknown ways.

The sources added that the judge considered the money’s disappearance to be a seizure of public funds, since the money taken would have gone to helping people in Egypt.

The magistrate referred the case to Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud so that trial procedures will be taken and the court of appeals will set a date for the trial, the sources added.

Ansar al-Sunnah, considered the second-largest Salafi NGO in Egypt, received more than LE296 million from the Qatar and Kuwait-based groups, the sources said, adding that during the investigations, they did not disclose how the money was spent.

The investigations apparently revealed that the Qatar-based Sheikh Eid bin Mohamed al-Thani Charity Organization offered Ansar al-Sunnah LE181,724,000, while the Kuwait-based Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage offered LE114,493,000, making the total sum received LE296,218,000.

The fact-finding committee report received by investigators described the money as the largest foreign donation Egypt received in 2010 and 2011.

The report also said that according to Ansar al-Sunnah’s registration at the Social Solidarity and Domestic Trade Ministry, its activities include helping the poor and orphans, and restoring and building mosques.

Those activities, according to the report, do not match up with the amount of funding received. The association spent only LE30 million on helping the poor and orphans, while LE133 million was allocated to what the Ansar al-Sunnah called “different development issues.”

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm