EGYPT’S FORMER OIL MINISTER GETS FINAL ACQUITTAL OVER EXPORTING GAS TO ISRAEL

An Egyptian top court, ordered on Thursday, a final acquittal of former oil minister, Sameh Fahmi, over harming national interest and squandering public money, via exporting natural gas to Israel below market price.

The case dates back to Apr, 2011, a couple of months after former President, Hosni Mubarak, was ousted, when Fahmi and six of his aides, including business tycoon Hussein Salem, were referred to criminal court over profiteering and causing Egypt’s losses of 714 million U.S. dollars, in the gas deals with Israel.

In June, 2012, Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Fahmi and fugitive Salem to 15 years over corruption and wasting public funds, by signing the 20-year controversial gas deal with Israel. The court then fined Fahmi and other involved defendants with over 2 billion dollars in total.

Later, in Feb, 2015, Fahmi and his five ex-officials were initially acquitted of the charges, but the prosecution appealed against their innocence.

The appeal was declined Thursday by Egypt’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, rendering their acquittal final.

As for Salem, the business tycoon has recently come back to Egypt, after returning over 600 million dollars, which he says accounted for 75 percent of his wealth, expecting for dropping all criminal charges against him.

Most of the Mubarak-era officials, including the ousted leader himself, have been eventually acquitted of various charges, such as corruption and killing of peaceful protesters.

In Nov, 2014, Mubarak, his two sons and six of his top security aides, including his interior minister, Habib al-Adli, were acquitted of financial corruption and responsibility for killing protesters in the 2011 uprising.

Egypt and Israel are committed to the U.S.-sponsored 1979 peace treaty, and they maintain mutual diplomatic relations and security coordination, yet without normalisation of ties on the popular level.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.