Former tourism minister gets retrial in land sale case

The Cassation Court on Wednesday accepted an appeal filed by former Tourism Minister Zoheir Garana, who was sentenced in May 2011 to five years in prison on charges of profiteering and squandering public funds.

The court ordered him retried along with fugitive businessmen Hisham al-Hazek and Hussein al-Segwany, who are together accused of squandering US$51 million in public funds.

Garana allegedly privatized and sold 5 million square meters of state-owned land in Ain Sokhna to construction tycoon Hazek in 2007 for $1 per square meter. The market price of the land at the time was $10 per square meter.

Garana was also sentenced in September 2011 to three years in prison for granting tourism operator licenses to close acquaintances despite government disapproval. 

Edited translation from MENA

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