Egypt court sentences government officials to prison over bribery

Wednesday 11-05-2016 02:35 PM

A criminal court sentences former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons to three years in prison in a corruption-related case on May 9, 2015. REUTERS

CAIRO, May 11 (Aswat Masriya) – An Egyptian court sentenced on Wednesday 13 Ministry of Agriculture officials to prison on bribery charges, one month after a former agriculture minister was convicted of the same charge in a separate case. 

Prosecutors accused the 13 officials in August of rigging documents to transfer the ownership of areas of state land to a number of citizens in return for bribes. 

Prison sentences handed down to the 13 officials range from three to 13 yeas. 

Today’s ruling, issued by the Giza Criminal Court, is not final and may be appealed before the Court of Cassation, the highest judicial body in the Egyptian court system. 

In April, a Cairo criminal court sentenced former agriculture minister Salah Helal to 10 years in prison in a high-profile bribery case. The entire cabinet resigned days after his arrest. 

The former agriculture minister was accused of demanding bribes from businessman Ayman al-Gameel in exchange for legalising the acquisition of 2,500 acres of land in the Beheira province. 

Egypt ranked 88th out of 168 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. 

State corruption is one of the causes believed to have triggered the 2011 Uprising , which led to the ouster of Honsi Mubarak as president after he ruled the country for nearly 30 years.

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