Former top auditor Hisham Geneina referred to "urgent" trial

Thursday 02-06-2016 09:21 PM

Hisham Geneina - Al Bawaba

CAIRO, June 2 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's Supreme State Security Prosecution referred the former top auditor Hisham Geneina to an "urgent" trial that commences on Tuesday over making false allegations about massive government corruption.

The prosecution recently summoned Geneina for investigation into charges of "spreading false news" regarding the size of governmental corruption, which "disrupted public peace and security."

As the former head of the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO), Geneina had told Egyptian media services that the size of governmental corruption during the period between 2012 and 2015 amounted to EGP 600 billion. He based his statements on findings of a detailed study conducted by the CAO.

Following Geneina’s corruption allegations, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered a fact-finding committee to probe into the statements he made.

In January, 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 top auditor was dismissed by a presidential decree in March, shortly after the prosecution leveled charges against him.

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, Sisi issued a law in the absence of the parliament allowing the president of Egypt to dismiss the heads of the state's regulatory and auditing agencies including CAO and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

The official gazette reported, after the presidential decree was issued, that "the removal is based on a statement from national security prosecution following its investigation into Geneina's statements about the cost of corruption in Egypt being EGP 600 billion, which carried false data."

In a statement on Thursday, Geneina said that he refused to pay the bail set for his release, which amounts to EGP 10,000, because of what he perceived as "fabricated investigations" and "trumped-up charges". Geneina added that paying the bail would imply his approval of the credibility of the charges.

The CAO is an independent legal entity that monitors financial institutions and government bodies and falls directly under the jurisdiction of the presidency.

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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