Ministry reveals ‘secret’ bank accounts of civil society groups

The Cairo Court of Appeal on Thursday accepted a memo submitted by two judges on behalf of the Ministry of Justice disclosing the "secret" bank accounts of 75 Egyptian and foreign civil society organizations, as well as 40 individuals.

The memo said the judges found that the people and organizations in question received some LE1 billion from Arab and foreign countries over a six-month period.

“Some NGOs received funds by legal means,” said Ihab Medhat, vice president of the Union of NGOs, the government body that oversees NGOs in Egypt.

“The others will be fined LE200,000 or get six months in prison,” he said.

Many NGOs and civil society groups in Egypt operate in the fields of human rights and social development through grants from international organizations. Of these, some are registered as companies in order to evade the staunch conditions applied to NGOs by the Ministry of Social Solidarity, which has the power to deny permission to receive foreign funds.

The so-called secret bank accounts mentioned in the memo are apparently a reference to private bank accounts belonging to those organizations registered as companies.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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