Egypt Independent

Sunday’s papers: Mubarak gets away with it, Brotherhood faces internal controversy

State-owned Al-Ahram starts off the week with an update on the ongoing attempts to locate and freeze the Mubarak family’s personal assets. The news comes in the form of an official statement from a spokesperson for the UK Treasury, in which he claims that it is highly likely the ousted president, along with his family members and former ministers, have already transferred their funds out of British banks. The spokesperson added that the “official request to freeze the assets of 19 Egyptians, including former President [Hosni] Mubarak, was placed too late.”

Al-Ahram’s front page report also includes an explanation from the spokesperson, in which he clarifies that it would have not been possible for the British government to take any action regarding transferred funds or clandestine bank accounts prior to an official request from the EU, which was only issued last Tuesday.

The spokesperson also asserted that the British government acknowledged the “level of frustration and disappointment” bound to be felt by Egyptians upon hearing the announcement, before reiterating that every process has its “rules” and that, in the absence of any concrete evidence presented against the former president from Egyptian authorities, the British government could do nothing but “wait.”

Independent dailies neglect to mention the issue altogether, with their front pages devoted to more local affairs. Under a headline announcing the first signs of a “youth-led revolt” among the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, independent daily Al-Shorouk reports on a conference held Saturday evening by the younger members of the religious organization.

According to independent daily Al-Shorouk, the conference, which was held under the slogan “a new vision from within,” aimed to discuss issues such as the basic structure of the organization and the possibility of granting women a larger role within it. The paper says the conference was a source of considerable controversy among members of the group, and the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau revoked their approval shortly before the conference was scheduled to take place.

An anonymous member of a faction of Brotherhood youth explained to Al-Shorouk that he and the other conference organizers had been “previously pressured by the Guidance Bureau to not hold the conference, and then to not invite certain Brotherhood members to it.” According to the paper, the Brotherhood youths refused to be restricted and, when the Guidance Bureau withdrew its initial consent, were forced to fund the conference themselves.

Also in Al-Shorouk, future presidential candidate and current Vice President of the Court of Cassation Hisham al-Bastawisi, “vowed” to discontinue Egyptian gas exports to Israel. Al-Bastawisi made the announcement in the governorate of Assiut, during the second stop on his informal presidential campaign tour.

Money matters dominate the front page of independent daily Al-Dostour, which leads with a report on the 2 million square meters of land in Egypt’s North Coast which had been privatized and “sold” in 2008 to prominent businessman Mohamed Abul Einein at a price of US$1 per square meter — LE7,995 less than the estimated worth of a square meter of land at the time. Al-Dostour reports that both Abul Einein and former Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garana are currently under investigation for the transaction, after an official complaint was filed against them by independent attorney Mostafa Shaaban.

Garana also stars in another Al-Dostour’s front page story where the former minister is on trial against charges of profiteering, encroaching on government-owned land, and squandering public funds. Al-Dostour reports that Garana also face accusations of selling 200,000 square meters of land for the unusually low sum of LE1 million to Royal Investment Company — of which he is the owner.

Al-Dostour also features a report on Youssef Boutros-Ghali, which claims that the former Minister of Finance distributed historical currencies and “antique gold coins” to his friends and family members, as “souvenirs.” The claim comes supported by images of official documents ordering the withdrawal of a total of one ton and 7.5km of said currencies from national treasury vaults.

Similar claims of corruption and, more specifically, pilfering of public funds, are brought against former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and former Minister of Investment Mohamed Mohie al-Din on the front page of Al-Wafd. In its leading report, the independent daily describes the charges against Nazif, Mohie al-Din, and several other former ministers — including former Finance Minister Galy — as found in a complaint filed by former parliament member Mostafa Bakry.

Also in Al-Wafd, Roqaya al-Sadat — daughter of former Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat — comes forward with her supposed sighting of Khaled al-Islamboly in 1996 — 15 years after he was supposedly executed for assassinating her father. Roqaya al-Sadat claims she saw al-Islamboly in Mecca, and that she will soon expose ousted president Mubarak’s involvement in her father’s assassination through several incriminating documents. Roqaya al-Sadat’s lawyer, Samir Sabry, also issued a statement, promising that his client’s revelations would contain several “heavy” surprises.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned