Fraud: Egyptian ex-minister jailed

2011-07-05 18:07

Cairo - An Egyptian former minister was sentenced in absentia to five years in jail and three others acquitted on Tuesday in corruption trials, a judicial official told AFP.

Rashid Mohammed Rashid, minister of foreign trade and industry under the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, was sentenced in absentia to five years for squandering public funds.

Rashid, who is the subject of an international arrest notice, has already been sentenced to five years for embezzlement.

In a separate case, the court acquitted former information minister Anas al-Fiqqi and former finance minister Yussef Boutros Ghali, after they were accused of misuse of public funds during last year's election.

Boutros, who is also abroad and the subject of an Interpol arrest notice, has already been sentenced in absentia to 30 years in prison in another corruption case.

Former housing minister Ahmed al-Maghrabi, who is currently in jail after being convicted of illegally acquiring public property and squandering public funds, was acquitted on Tuesday in a fraud case involving another property.

The trials come as part of a sweeping probe by the new military rulers into Mubarak-era fraud and abuse.

Uprooting corruption was and remains one of the central demands of the activists who pushed for Muarak's departure.

But activists have criticised the rapid pace of the trials, calling for a thorough and open process for the sake of justice, not revenge.

Mubarak, along with his two sons Alaa and Gamal, is to face trial on August o3 on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising in January and February that toppled the veteran leader.