Egypt minister arrested after stepping aside

2015-09-07 18:03


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Egypt's agriculture minister was arrested in Cairo on Monday after being told to step aside in connection with an investigation into corruption at his ministry, judicial and media sources said.

Salah Helal "resigned on the orders of the president", a statement from the prime minister's office said.

He was detained after a meeting in the premier's office, a judicial source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"He was arrested as part of an investigation into a major case of corruption in his ministry," the official MENA news agency reported.

Officials at the agriculture ministry are alleged to have taken bribes to help businessmen illegally acquire state land, a prosecution official and media reports said.

The prosecution service had last week banned media from publishing any information about the case.

Helal, 59, an agronomy graduate, rose through the ranks at the agriculture ministry to become minister in March.

Graft at many levels has blighted the Arab world's most populous country.

In July, a court sentenced a former prime minister of ousted president Hosni Mubarak to five years in prison for corruption and fined him millions of dollars.

Ahmed Nazif, whom Mubarak sidelined to appease protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his rule, was convicted in his retrial of having used his position to make a fortune of $8.2 m.

The court also fined him $6.8m.

Nazif had been accused of corrupt property deals and receiving illegal bonuses.

Popular demand for accountability

Mubarak and many of his former ministers were placed on trial following his overthrow amid popular demands for them to be held accountable for years of corruption.

Many former regime figures have been found not guilty in retrials, however.

In March, Mubarak's once feared interior minister Habib al-Adly was acquitted of corruption charges.

He was cleared of illegally accumulating around $23m, and the court also lifted an asset freeze on him and members of his family.

Mubarak himself and his two sons Alaa and Gamal were sentenced to three years in prison earlier this year for corruption.

But they had been in detention for much of the past four years, and may be released early when time served is accounted for.

Many Egyptians looked upon Alaa and Gamal Mubarak as symbols of corruption during their father's three-decade rule.

All three were arrested in 2011, months after Mubarak was toppled in a popular 18-day uprising.

On May 9 this year, they and their father were fined $16m, the amount they were accused of embezzling from funds meant for the maintenance of presidential palaces.

The court also ordered them to pay an extra $2.6.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, before his election in May last year to succeed Islamist Mohamed Morsi, the man who succeeded Mubarak and whom he deposed while army chief, had pledged to stamp out corruption.

The retired field marshal said there would be no return to the corruption and human rights violations of the Mubarak era.

Read more on:    salah helal  |  egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.