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Archaeologist accuses Zahi Hawass of violating excavation laws

The Assistant Professor and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Archeology and Cultural Heritage at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Monica Hanna has filed a report to the Attorney General accusing famed Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass of receiving grants from external parties to illegally finance excavations.

During a phone call to al-Hadath al-Youm TV channel, Hanna said that archaeological work in Egypt is regulated by the Antiquities Protection Law, whose executive regulations stipulate that no private party should carry out excavations.

Archaeological excavations are entrusted to the competent authorities and universities, she said, noting that according to the law the Zahi Hawass Center at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is not permitted to carry out any excavation work.

The report alleges that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is being used to receive external grants from unknown sources to finance Hawass’ excavations in the Saqqara region and in Luxor under the cover of the Zahi Hawass Center.

It says that the center is not subject to the financial and accounting audit by the library or any external party, which comes in violation of the library’s regulations and the Antiquities Protection Law, which stipulates that the identity of the sources of funds used in archaeological missions must be disclosed.


Hawass responds back

Hawass responded to these accusations in statements reported by the Cairo 24 news website, explaining that the center was established by the Former Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Moustafa Elfeki.

He added: “All international laws stipulate that any center or any institution gives support to another institution, and it cannot be given to any government agency, as the money comes in the name of Zahi Hawass personally.”

Hawass stated that there is an official in Luxor, and another in Saqqara, and that the amount is disbursed with receipts, adding: “Although any mission director has a salary, I refused to take a salary from the excavations… We presented all available documents that prove that this report is completely false.”

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