Mubarak-era prime minster and interior minster acquitted of graft charges

Tuesday 24-02-2015 12:56 PM
Mubarak-era prime minster and interior minster acquitted of graft charges

Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli while on trial - Reuters


CAIRO, Feb 24 (Aswat Masriya) - A Cairo court acquitted former prime minister Ahmed Nazif and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli of charges of wasting 92 million Egyptian pounds of public funds through irregularly procuring vehicle license plates, on Tuesday.

Initially, a primary court had sentenced Nazif to a suspended year and Adli to five years. Both Adli and Nazif appealed the court's decision and the Court of Cassation overturned the sentences and ordered their retrial in February 2013.

Adli's lawyer Essam al-Battawi said a request for Adli's release will be lodged tomorrow since Adli is not being held in preventative detention for any other trials.

He said his client is only facing one more trial for graft charges. In this case, Adli stands accused of using his political influence for illegal gains amounting to 181 million Egyptian pounds. The verdict is due on March 12.

Former finance minister Youssef Boutrous-Ghali also faced charges in this trial and was sentenced to ten years in absentia in the initial verdict.

The three officials were part of toppled President Hosni Mubarak's last government before the outbreak of protests which led to his removal from power in early 2011.

A judicial source said prosecutors can appeal today's verdict before the Court of Cassation.

The trial also included a German defendant, the legal representative of a German company, who was also handed a suspended sentence in absentia. The prosecution had said public funds were wasted when the German company was tasked with producing the license plates, at prices higher than the market price. 

In its reasoning behind today's acquittal, the court said it was the finance minister who contracted the German company, not Adli or Nazif. It added that the pair did not set the price or take part in determining it. 

Like several of Mubarak's top officials Adli, 76, faced several charges after Mubarak's removal. Adli was taken into custody days after Mubarak's removal and has since faced a total of four trials.

Last November, he was acquitted of charges of inciting and aiding the killing of protesters, in a trial that included Mubarak.

He was also acquitted of profiteering by a Cairo court last June. 

Adli's only conviction was for exploiting conscripts by tasking them with carrying out work for him in his home. He was handed a three year sentence, which was upheld in February 2014. His lawyer says his release is possible despite the verdict because of time already spent in custody.

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