Egypt’s former top auditor receives one-year prison sentence

The New Cairo Appeals Court sentenced Egypt's former top auditor Hisham Geneina to a suspended one-year prison sentence and a bail of LE10,000 for spreading false news. Geneina was also fined LE20,000.

The verdict is subject to appeal.

In early June, the Supreme State Security Prosecution referred Geneina to "urgent" trial over making false allegations about massive government corruption.

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 LE600 billion. He based his statements on findings of a detailed study conducted by the CAO.

According to lawyer Ali Taha, Geneina will appeal the verdict and pay the bail required to suspend the prison sentence.

Taha told Aswat Masriya that the defence team will appeal the verdict based on several reasons including not listening to their defence or accommodating their requests.

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 committee, which included representatives from the ministries of justice, interior, planning and finance, had concluded that the then top auditor's statements and the CAO's study were "inaccurate", "exaggerated" and lacked "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 CAO is an independent legal entity that monitors financial institutions and government bodies and falls directly under the jurisdiction of the presidency.

Egypt’s House of Representatives approved on June 12 the appointment of Hisham Abdel Salam Badawi to replace Geneina as the new head for the Central Auditing Agency.

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