Egypt jails Garranah, Sajwani, Al Hazeq

A picture dated February 23, 2011 shows Egypt's former tourism minister Zuheir Garranah during a hearing in his trial in Cairo on suspicion of diverting public funds. Garranah was jailed for five years on May 10, 2011 on charges of corruption, a justice source said.(AFP PHOTO)

Egypt's former tourism minister Zuheir Garranah was jailed for five years on Tuesday on charges of corruption, a justice source said.

Garranah, who was sentenced along with two businessmen - Hussein Sajwani and Hisham Al Hazeq, was charged with wasting public funds worth $51 million, after authorising the sale of state-owned land for well below the market price.

He is the second minister who served under toppled president Hosni Mubarak to be jailed for fraud, as part of a sweeping probe into corruption by the country's new military rulers.

Garranah is said to have ordered the sale of 305 million square metres -- some of which was oil-rich -- to Hisham Al Hazeq and Hussein Sajwani for one dollar per square metre for tourism projects.

He was detained on February 17, less than a week after a popular uprising forced Mubarak to step down and hand power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The trial of corrupt officials, including Mubarak, was a key demand of protesters.

Mubarak detention renewed

Egypt's state prosecutor on Tuesday renewed the detention of ousted president Hosni Mubarak for another 15 days amid a probe into the killing of protesters and corruption, his office said in a statement.


Abdel Maguid Mahmud "has ordered the preventative detention of former president Hosni Mubarak for 15 days that will begin when his current detention ends," on May 12, according to the statement.


The decision to extend the detention came after a team of investigators from the prosecutor's office questioning Mubarak again in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, where he is currently under arrest.


It is the second time Mubarak's detention is extended.


Sources at the public prosecutor's office told AFP that a decision on whether or not to put Mubarak on trial would be announced in the coming days.


The former president was hospitalised on April 12 after suffering a heart attack and was put under preventative detention the following day, two months after he was overthrown by a popular uprising.


He is being held in connection with ordering the shooting of protesters during the anti-regime rallies that kicked off on January 25. He is also being questioned on corruption charges.


At least 846 people were killed during the protests that swept the country to demand his resignation as well as political and economic reforms, and over 6,000 were wounded.

Ex-Interior Minister sentenced

On Thursday, a court sentenced once feared Egyptian interior minister Habib Al Adly to 12 years for corruption.

Adly, who ran Mubarak's security services for more than a decade before the strongman's overthrow in the face of 18 days of mass protests, was convicted of money-laundering and illicitly enriching himself while in office.

He faces a second trial on charges of ordering police to shoot protesters, and a third alongside the former premier and finance minister over a deal with a German firm to supply Egypt with licence plates at allegedly inflated prices.

Mubarak is currently under arrest in a hospital in Sharm El Sheikh, while the military mulls moving him to a prison hospital in Cairo.

His two sons Alaa and Gamal, along with dozens officials and businessmen associated with the former regime are being detained in Cairo's notorious Tora prison which housed political dissidents during in the Mubarak era.

The tourism industry accounts for more than a tenth of the country's GDP and employs more than 12 per cent of its workforce.

More than 14 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, a record number, with around a third of them hitting the Red Sea Coast.

 

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