Farmers harvest wheat on Qalyub farm in the El-Kalubia governorate, northeast of Cairo, Egypt May 1, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
CAIRO, Aug. 30 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's public prosecutor decided on Tuesday to release Ibrahim Hatab, a wheat silo owner, on a bail of 500,000 EGP, pending investigation into his involvement in a wheat corruption case.
According to a statement by the public prosecution, Hatab was released after he paid EGP 86.8 million, which represents the amount he had unlawfully obtained based on preliminary investigation.
Egypt's supreme public funds prosecution is currently investigating a number of defendants, including parliamentarians and government officials, accused of manipulating domestic wheat supplies. The defendants are charged with "committing crimes that facilitate the seizure of public funds, personal profiteering, and forgery."
Prosecution previously ordered travel bans, as well as the freezing of assets and property of people accused of seizing, through document forgery, an amount of EGP 533 million from public funds.
The public prosecutor ordered on Monday the release of another wheat silo owner, Raafat Nosseir, charged in the same case on a bail of EGP 500,000, according to state-run MENA news agency.
Nosseir paid EGP 77 million which is believed to be the amount he unlawfully acquired.
Local wheat suppliers, in cooperation with government employees, forged documents to claim EGP 621 million worth of grain, about 221,800 tonnes, that did not actually exist, a prosecution statement said earlier in August.
Egypt's supply ministry said it bought nearly five million tonnes of local wheat from local suppliers in the latest procurement season which ended in June.