Local museums to be inspected in wake of Van Gogh theft

The Central Auditing Organization (CAO) has formed a commission to inspect museums and temples run by the Ministry of Culture, ending with a technical study reviewing their statuses.

For its part, the ministry has set up specialized committees to take stock of the museums' collections.

On the other hand, public prosecution services have begun considering a letter sent by Deputy Minister of Culture Mahmoud Shaalan which speaks against Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni, who blamed Shaalan for the theft of "Poppy Flowers," the Van Gogh painting stolen on 21 August from the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil museum in Giza.

The letter was sent from jail, where Shaalan awaits investigation. In it, Shaalan argues that he had warned Hosni of the security risks surrounding museums in general and the Khalil museum in particular.

Hosni claimed, during an interview with TV host Abel Latif al-Manawy, that he had not been informed of any gaps in the museum's security system. “If someone had told me, I would have immediately closed the museum until the alarm system was fixed," he said.

Hosni further said that museum security is the direct responsibility of Shaalan, adding that the deputy minister has a budget of LE7 million for security. Hosni said he does not regret appointing Shaalan as head of the Sector of Fine Arts, arguing instead that he always approved of his performance.

CAO head, Gawdat al-Malt, said he commissioned a committee made of staff from the organization’s auditing department to conduct a comprehensive study of the museums run by the Ministry of Culture. He said that particular attention will be paid to the security systems.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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