EGYPT COURT SETS DEC 29 TO ISSUE VERDICT IN MUBARAK-ERA MINISTERS’ TRIAL

CAIRO, Egypt, Sept 29 Cairo Criminal Court sets Dec 29, to issue a verdict in the trial of Mubarak-era Prime Minister, Ahmed Nazif and Interior Minister, Habib al-Adly, over corruption, in an import deal of cars’ number plates.

The criminal court had previously given Nazif a suspended sentence of one year in prison, while Adly received five years in prison and former Finance Minister, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, 10 years in absentia.

The legal representative of German license plate manufacturer, UTSCH, also received a suspended 18-month sentence.

The first instance court, originally indicted all suspects on charges of wasting LE92 million in state funds, when a German company was granted contracts to provide license plates by direct order, supplying plates at prices higher than market price and generating excessive revenues in violation of the law.

Nazif served as prime minister, under former President Hosni Mubarak, from 2004 to 2011, before resigning, during the successful Jan 25 popular uprising against the government.

Nazif’s lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, said that his client’s goal of the deal was to achieve the public interest and eliminate terrorism, but his reward was prison. Nazif called on the court to lift the injustice and acquit him of the charges.

Adly defended himself, saying, the deal was Ghaly’s idea, who told him that manufacturing these plates would cost the ministry nothing.

Adly added, he agreed to the deal because it helped the Interior Ministry to limit the theft of cars used in terrorism.

According to Adly, forging number plates was wide-spread, which hindered the traffic police’s work.

As the problem aggravated, with the increase of the number of cars in Egypt, the company which provided the plates to ministry could no longer afford them, forcing people either to forge plates they can use or move without plates, he said.

SOURCE: MENA