Anas al-Fiqqi detained on charges of squandering public funds

Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud referred Anas al-Fiqqi, former Information Minister, to the Cairo Criminal Court for the second time.

Fiqqi is accused of intentionally squandering US$1.88 million of the Radio and Television Union's funds. The Cairo Appeal Court will set the date of starting proceedings in the case.

Fiqqi was initially accused alongside former finance minister Youssef Boutros Ghali of spending public funds on campaigning for the National Democratic Party (NDP).

Investigations, under the supervision of Counsel Ali al-Hawari, revealed that Fiqqi illegally exempted Egyptian satellite channels from fees for direct broadcast of football matches during the 2009 – 2010 season and the beginning of the 2010 – 2011season.

Testimonies from eyewitnesses and representatives of private satellite channels, as well as the investigations of the Public Funds Investigation authority, confirmed that Fiqqi provided the exemptions in an attempt to pressure channels to mitigate attacks on the government. Since the radio and television union's debt exceeded LE14 billion, it was badly in need of the money.

The crime was discovered when the head of Radio and Television Union, Samy al-Sherief, filed a complaint against former union head Osama al-Sheikh, who is currently in prison, accusing him of squandering the union's funds. But investigations and the testimonies of Osama Ezz Eddin, chairman of DreamTV, found that the culprit was Fiqqi rather than Sheikh.

Over five sessions, the prosecutor listened to the testimonies of Eddin, President of the Egyptian Football Association Samir Zaher  Managing Director of Al-Hayah network Mohamed Abdel Metal, and owner of satellite channel Modern Sport Walid Debes.

Meanwhile, Cairo Appeals Court will set the date for proceeding with the case of tourism licenses, in which former Tourism Minister Zuhair Garana is accused of issuing licenses illegally.

Prosecutors received yesterday a number of reports concerning the squandering and illegal seizure of public money in the Reading for All Festival. Sources refused to reveal the content of these reports.

Reports on various privatization cases have also been received.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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