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Sisi launches corruption cover-up to appease 'Palacegate' anti-regime protests Open in fullscreen

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Sisi launches corruption cover-up to appease 'Palacegate' anti-regime protests

The officials’ referral to trial seems to be in response to anti-Sisi protests [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 September, 2019

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Two Egyptian officials will face a 'speedy' trial for embezzling state funds in what appears to be a response to anti-corruption protests.
Two unnamed Egyptian officials will be put on trial on corruption charges following protests on Friday and Saturday against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The Illegal Earnings division of the Egyptian Ministry of Justice referred a high-ranking official in the Egyptian presidency, as well as a senior official in the state-owned Arab Contractors construction company to a “speedy” criminal trial.

They are accused of embezzling 27.5 million Egyptian pounds (roughly $1.7 million US dollars) in funds. Accusations against them were first made three years ago, and Sisi referred to them in a speech in May 2016.

However, no action against them was taken at the time. It appears that their referral for a “speedy” trial has come in response to the protests against Sisi.

The protests were ignited by videos made by construction contractor Mohamed Ali, who said that Sisi had employed his company to build luxurious palaces for himself at a time when the poverty rate in Egypt was high and increasing.

Sisi did not deny Ali’s allegations but said that the palaces were built for the state, not for himself, and that he would continue to “build and build and build”.

The scandal has been dubbed "Palacegate".

Egyptian pro-government media sources said that the “arrest of the accused was based on Sisi’s orders to punish corrupt people”.

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