CAIRO, Mar 22 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's Public Funds Prosecution released a former irrigation minister on bail on Tuesday pending investigation into corruption charges.
The prosecution opened an investigation today with Mohamed Nasr Allam, who was irrigation minister from March 2009 until January 2011, and others regarding charges of financial corruption.
Allam was interrogated over alleged facilitation of a parliamentarian's seizure of state land as well as squandering public funds. He was released on a bail of EGP 100,000 (around $11,261).
Allam was the irrigation minister under then-Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, during the era of long-serving president Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising against his rule in 2011.
Allam had been a professor and head of the department of irrigation and hydraulics at the Cairo University before assuming the position of irrigation minister.
The charges, which are based on statements that were prepared by regulatory bodies, included details about the parliamentarian Ahmed Koura, who was a member of Mubarak's now-dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP).
According to these statements, Koura was able to make profits from the selling of land without prior consent from designated authorities.
Similarly, former agriculture minister Salah al-Din Helal was arrested in September 2015 after he submitted his resignation to then-Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb. He was accused of bribery and corruption.
Helal's case was believed to involve high-ranking officials who were accused of receiving financial bribes. Prosecutor General Nabil Sadiq referred the defendants to criminal court last October.
The cabinet had submitted its resignation as well days after Helal's arrest.
Former Mubarak-era Prime Minister Nazif also faced corruption charges including making illicit gains during his time in office.
Mubarak had dismissed Nazif amid the turbulent days of the January 2011 uprising. Nazif was later replaced by Ahmed Shafiq, but the move failed to quell the uprising. Mubarak was eventually ousted on Feb. 11, 2011.
However, several Mubarak-era figures accused of corruption have been acquitted of the charges leveled against them. Those include Mubarak and his sons, the former interior minister Habib al-Adly and former petroleum minister Sameh Fahmy.
Egypt ranked 88th out of 167 countries on Transparency International's 2015 corruption perceptions index which ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.