CAIRO, Jan 26 (Aswat Masriya) - The investigation faced by Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) head Hisham Geneina, who has been in the limelight recently for making allegations of massive corruption, was postponed on Tuesday.
The judge presiding over the investigation postponed it to next Sunday to look into a bid proposed by Geneina's lawyer that he cannot be held accountable without a law that regulates trying ministers, stating that Geneina holds the status of a minister.
The accusation was leveled against Geneina by Justice Minister Ahmed el-Zend, who said Geneina insulted him in a television interview in November 2014.
Geneina and Zend have been critical of each other in public statements. In an interview in August 2015, Geneina said it is "clear" that he is "not very liked" by Zend who had earlier made statements on how Geneina was "soon" to be removed from his position.
Geneina was absent from the investigation, according to state-run Al-Akhbar news website.
This investigation comes after Geneina told Egyptian media services that the size of governmental corruption during the period between 2012 and 2015 was EGP 600 billion (around $75 billion). He based his statements on findings of a detailed study conducted by the CAO.
The CAO, which is headed by Geneina, is a an independent legal entity that monitors financial institutions and government bodies and falls directly under the jurisdiction of the presidency.
Until last year the head of CAO and other entities with the same legal status and immunity could not be dismissed, according to the Egyptian constitution.
But in July 2015, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a law allowing the president of Egypt to depose the heads of the state's regulatory and auditing agencies including CAO and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).
Following Geneina’s corruption allegations, Sisi ordered a fact-finding committee to probe the statements he made.
On Jan. 12, the investigative committee released a report challenging Geneina’s claims, saying his statements and the CAO’s study are “inaccurate”, “exaggerated” and “lack credibility”.
The fact-finding committee is led by the head of the cabinet-affiliated Administrative Control Authority and includes representatives from various ministries.
Last week, Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered a media gag on the investigation into the corruption allegations made by Geneina. A lawyer and founder of an advocacy group to defend Geneina filed a lawsuit before the administrative court on Saturday calling for the media gag to be lifted.