Wednesday’s papers: Medical MPs, Egypt’s economy ‘destroyed,’ second day of Marwan inquest

As its lead story, state-owned Al-Ahram focuses on a report received yesterday by Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud on the “Medical Treatment MPs”–a group of parliamentary members who have been accused by the state of “taking advantage of the state-sponsored health care program.” The report, written by People’s Assembly speaker Fathi Sorour, claims the aforementioned MPs committed “various violations and dangerous infringements” in connection with health care.

In an allegedly exclusive statement to Al-Ahram, Sorour goes on to announce that he asked the appropriate authorities to send him any information they may have on the subject, and that he has already received several incriminating documents from the Ministry of Health and the Central Auditing Organization, among others. Al-Ahram reports that among the misdemeanors listed, three MPs allegedly forged approvals for unnecessary medical procedures to the tune of approximately LE24 million each.

State-owned papers also report on Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif’s announcement on Tuesday that, as far as ration cards are concerned, all essential commodities will be made available for an “extended period of time.” The news came at the time of yesterday’s cabinet meeting, during which Nazif “reassured Minister of Social Solidarity Ali el-Meseilhy that the Board of Commodities has a vast supply of all commodities covered by the ration card,” and that the supply would last for “many more months.” There are approximately 11 million ration cards in use among Egyptians, covering about 63.5 million citizens.

Unsurprisingly, neither story makes the front page in any of the independent dailies. Al-Shorouq’s lead story features Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, who denied that his office summoned former director of the Egyptian Stock Market Maged Shawky and head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority Ziad Bahaa Eddin to investigate charges made against them by investors for allegedly “wasting LE300 billion of the stock market’s money,” as well as “destroying the Egyptian economy.”

Al-Shorouq claims to have obtained documents from the attorney general’s office containing a response to the claims, stating: “the prosecutor’s office will not summon either of the persons mentioned until it can verify the truth behind the claims and determine whether or not they contain any violations of the law.” Al-Shorouq also reports that Amr Sabry, general attorney for trade and financial affairs, spent yesterday listening to the complaints and testimonies of “approximately 50 Egyptian investors” involved in the issue.

Al-Shorouq’s front page also features an update on the Ashraf Marwan trial currently unfolding in a London court. Marwan, who the paper refers to as an “Egyptian businessman,” fell to his death from his fifth-floor apartment window three years ago, leading to numerous theories as to the nature of his death. Yesterday’s court session revolved around the accounts of numerous witnesses who either saw or talked to Marwan briefly before his death.

According to Al-Shorouq, the superintendent of the building in which Marwan lived testified that, on the day of his death, Marwan had seemed “completely normal,” and even “cheerful”–hinting that suicide was “unlikely”. Other testimonies included those of Marwan’s friend Sherif Saleh, and Marwan’s ex-wife, Mona Gamal Abdel Nasser, daughter of late president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Both Saleh, who had a phone conversation with Marwan the day before his death, and Abdel Nasser expressed doubt about the possibility of suicide, with Marwan’s former wife stating: “he was outgoing and always expressed a love for life, despite his health problems.”

Meanwhile, Al-Wafd reports that the National Democratic Party (NDP) General Secretariat is currently in the process of evaluating the performance of the party’s official guardians/representatives throughout all governorates, in preparation for “the changes and reassignments that will be made prior to the upcoming elections.” Al-Wafd reports that such changes are expected to take place in the governorates of Matrouh, Suez, Daqahliya, Sharqiya, Beheira, and Alexandria. The paper also reports that it has “found out” that NDP party leaders have “directed intense blame” toward Ali Khairallah, representative of the Matrouh governorate, for announcing that Gamal Mubarak will be visiting his governorate–an announcement that, unfortunately for Khairallah, turned out to be inaccurate.

Egypt’s newspapers:

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 el-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouq: 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 el-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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