Govt negotiates corruption settlements with former officials

The government has started reconciliation procedures with officials who served under former President Hosni Mubarak and are detained for financial corruption.

Reconciliation agreements allow officials accused of corruption to settle outside of court and avoid criminal charges by paying restitution. The settlements often do not include paying back profits gained off of embezzled funds.

The plan aims to boost state revenue but eliminate the basis for litigation with former regime figures, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Wednesday.

Within days the government will announce the first steps toward reconciliation with Ahmed Ezz, the former organization secretary of the disbanded National Democratic Party, and the owners of Beshay Steel, who were charged with obtaining free licenses to produce steel.

Former Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for his involvement in the case, while Amr Assal, the president of the Industrial Development Authority, and Ezz each received 10-year sentences.

A government official said Ezz and the owners of Beshay are paying more LE1.03 billion in a settlement.

Other sources said the government is also willing to reach a settlement with Ahmed al-Maghraby, the former housing minister.

State Minister for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mohamed Mahsoub had denied press reports that he was assigned to reach a US$5-billion settlement with Ezz.

“There is no way the government would reconcile with the corrupt,” he told Turkish news service Anadolu News in October.

Earlier this week, the government said it has repatriated LE11 billion in funds siphoned off by former regime officials.

Suffering a deficit of LE170 billion in the state budget this year, Egypt is seeking loans from international financial institutions and grants from Arab countries.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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