Former agriculture minister detained, accused of squandering funds

Former Agriculture Minister Ahmed al-Leithy has been detained for 15 days pending investigations into charges that he squandered millions while in office.

Leithy has been accused of selling the public-sector Nubaria Seed Production Company to a Saudi investor while he was the head of the Holding Company for Agricultural Development. The sale was in violation of the 1981 Law 143, which holds that the Egyptian capital of any company must at least be 50 percent.

The former minister is also accused of selling 17,000 acres to the same investor at submarket prices of LE18,000 per acre, when the land was valued for at least LE31,000 per acre at the time.

Prosecutors say that Leithy later sold another 2,357 acres for LE500 per acre, based on 1976 prices — far below market prices in 2002, when the sale took place.

Edited translation from MENA

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