Court extends detention of health minister's advisor on corruption charges

Thursday 16-06-2016 05:12 PM

An Egyptian flag flutters at the High Court of Justice in Cairo November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

CAIRO, Jun 16 (Aswat Masriya) - An Egyptian court extended on Thursday the detention of an advisor to the health minister for 15 days pending investigation on charges of receiving a bribe.

Doctor Ahmed Aziz was arrested in May allegedly while receiving a bribe of EGP 4.5 million (around $506,374) in the form of cheques from a medical equipment and supplies company.

This is the second renewal for Aziz’s detention.

Officers from the Administrative Control Authority arrested Aziz at his office at the ministry then and said that he received the bribe in return for illegally facilitating the equipping of a marrow transplant unit in a public hospital.

The investigation revealed that the health ministry commissioned an intermediary company to replace and renovate the unit at Naser Institute to equip nine operation rooms at a value of EGP 28 million, EGP 4 million for each room. 

Administrative Control Authority officers discovered that the amount needed to equip a room is EGP 950,000 only.

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. 

Last April, an Egyptian court sentenced former agriculture minister Salah Helal for receiving a bribe valued at more than EGP 11 million. 

Helal was arrested early September after he submitted his resignation to then-Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, whose cabinet resigned days after Helal's arrest.

Former director of the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) Hesham Geneina is now facing trial after he spoke to Egyptian media in December 2015 about alleged massive government corruption.

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

In response to Geneina’s allegations, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree last March sacking him. 

The sacking decision came after a fact-finding committee formed by Sisi concluded that the then-top auditor's statements were “inaccurate”, “exaggerated” and lacked "credibility".

($1 = EGP 8.89)

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