Egypt’s prosecution refers 13 to criminal court in 2016 wheat corruption case

Egyptian Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek referred 11 wheat silo officials and two others to criminal court on charges of graft worth 634 million pounds, a statement by the prosecution’s office said on Sunday.

The statement said that the primary suspect in the case, who is at large, was responsible for facilitating the embezzlement of 530 million pounds for the rest of the accused.

The defendants face charges of seizing public funds, forging official documents, and undermining the Egyptian economy and the national security of the country.

According to the statement, defendants in the case include public servants and members of Egypt’s Chamber of Grain, as well as members of the wheat sorting and receiving committees established by a joint ministerial decree in 2016.

A parliamentary commission, formed at the end of June 2016, has been tasked with looking into allegations that local wheat procurement figures are inflated, which may reveal further corruption.

In 2016, Egypt has procured five million tonnes of domestic wheat, around 25 percent more than the targeted amount that year.

In 2016/2017, Egypt imported 5.5 million tonnes of wheat, compared to 4.6 million tonnes in the 2015/2016 season.

Cairo spends around $1.5 billion annually on wheat imports to support a bread subsidy programme relied on by tens of millions of Egyptians.

Source: Ahram Online