Top News: Egypt’s New Prime Minister Denies Corruption Accusations

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail on Monday denied accusations of corruption levelled at him in the domestic media. Ismail, who was appointed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday, was previously the country’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. In a statement Sherif denied that he had used his position as minister to have his wife and a number of his relatives hired at the state-owned company Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries Company (ENPPI) as some TV shows had claimed on Saturday. Ismail said his wife has worked as an engineer for ENPPI since 1984. [Ahram OnlineEgypt Independent, 9/14/2015]


Parliamentary candidates to be announced Wednesday; NGOs document violations by candidates
Egypt’s High Elections Committee (HEC) has said it will announce on Wednesday which candidates it has accepted to run for parliament in the upcoming elections. Parliamentary Elections’ Observatory (PEO) affiliated to the NGO Maat’s international-local joint mission, has said that while the rate was “good,” the number of candidate applications for upcoming parliamentary election has declined compared to past polls. The HEC had previously announced it received 5,936 applications. The alliance cited cost and fears of another suspension of elections as possible reasons for the decline. The PEO added that parties “struggled to meet the requirements of closed-lists in terms of proportional representation of different social categories.” According to the Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights and Development (ECHRD), before elections were cancelled in February 2015, 6,792 candidates applied, 5,181 applied in 2011, 4,686 in 2010, and 7,000 in 2005. The PEO documented violations committed by political parties and independent politicians including distributing goods to citizens in an attempt to buy votes, and advertisements prior to beginning of the legal period for campaigning. The ECHRD reported a campaign by the Nour Party in Alexandria distributing the Hepatitis-C medication Sovaldi for free. Meanwhile, the HEC rejected steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz’s parliamentary candidacy application, saying his papers were incomplete. Ezz’s national post office account, where he had deposited his money, was frozen on Friday by the prosecution and Illicit Gains Authority. Finally, leftist Tagammu Party announced Sunday it had been shut off from the electoral alliance For the Love of Egypt. The party said in a statement it was asked to join the alliance, only to be informed at the last minute that the party’s Vice President had been removed from the list. [Ahram Online, 9/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Sisi launches Presidential Leadership Program | Cairo Post
  • Sisi calls on ‘60 million youth’ to vote in parliamentary elections | Ahram Online


Eleven top Agriculture Ministry officials referred to judiciary over corruption charges
Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy referred eleven top officials at the Agriculture Ministry to the judiciary, accusing them of embezzlement and facilitating the seizure of public funds, state news agency MENA reported Monday. The accused officials face accusations of illegally facilitating the sale of a piece of land, affiliated with the General Authority for Agriculture Reform in Daqahlia, and of profiteering by facilitating the licensing of a poultry farm in Minya. Moghazy was tasked with temporarily running the ministry after former minister Salah Helal was removed from office and arrested. [Ahram Online, AMAY, Cairo Post, 9/14/2015]

Journalist claims illegal detention, files complaint with prosecutor general
Al-Shorouk journalist Haitham Radwan filed a complaint at the prosecutor general’s office Tuesday against Talbiya police station for his illegal detention. Radwan told Al-Shorouk newspaper that, after withdrawing a sum of money from an ATM located in Giza, a number of people blocked his way and pulled him into a microbus without a license plate. According to a statement published by Al-Shorouk, Radwan was verbally insulted, beaten by officers, and kept for five hours in the microbus, as they picked up eight others on their way to Talbiya station. Two of the nine were let go on arrival at the police station, while Radwan and six others were kept in detention for a further six hours. Eleven hours later, Radwan was released from Talbiya police station without his money or ID, Al-Shorouk reported. Radwan told Mada Masr he would also be filing a complaint with the Interior Ministry, and would demand an investigation into the matter. Interior Ministry officials were not available to comment to Mada Masr on the incident. [DNE, Mada Masr, 9/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Trial starts after over a year of journalist shooting | DNE
  • ‘Port Said prison clashes’ trial postponed to October 3 | DNE


Egypt introduces new rules on foreigners’ work, says Ministry of Manpower
Foreign workers in Egypt must now obtain a permit from the Ministry of Manpower or other state bodies, as part of new regulations Egypt has announced on Monday. Some workers are exempt from the new regulations, including foreign correspondents, embassy, and consulate staff. The permit granted to foreigners will allow them to work in Egypt for one year or less. Each year, workers will be required to pay a fee of 3,000 Egyptian pounds (around $383), while applying for the permit, and the amount paid will increase each year after four years. The new regulations also set a cap on the percentage of foreign workers in a particular institution, which cannot exceed 10 percent, unless an exemption is granted. [Aswat Masriya, MENA, 9/15/2015]

Egypt Central Bank seen keeping rates on hold
Egypt’s Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged on Thursday as it balances efforts to control inflation with efforts to stimulate its struggling economy, according to economists surveyed by Reuters. Annual inflation accelerated after the government slashed subsidies last year but has since slowed down. It dropped for the third consecutive month in August to its lowest level in more than two years, with urban consumer inflation dropping to 7.9 percent in August. Three of five economists surveyed by Reuters said they expect the central bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) to keep rates on hold during their meeting on September 17. At its last meeting, on July 30, the central bank kept its deposit rate at 8.75 percent and its lending rate at 9.75 percent. It was the fourth consecutive meeting in which the central bank kept rates on hold. [Reuters, 9/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt secures $339m from Arab Monetary Fund | AMEInfo
  • Egyptian pound stable at dollar sale, stronger at exchange bureaux | Reuters
  • EGX provides EGP 20 billion for listed companies since June 30 uprising | DNE
  • Local Development Ministry to allocate land, produce methane gas from organic waste | AMAY
  • Mexican tourists’ deaths in Bahariya Oasis furthers tourism worries say ministry officials  | DNE
  • Al-Fahad Holding to establish real estate development company in Egypt | DNE
  • Cairo governor announces five transportation projects | AMAY


Student Mariam Malak presents new evidence of answer sheet fraud
A top-performing high school student who accused the Education Ministry of tampering with her answer sheet has submitted fresh evidence to support her claim. Mariam Malak has been in the spotlight recently for accusing her school examiners of swapping her answer sheet with another student’s, resulting in her receiving a “zero” in all subjects. The ministry disputes her claims about corruption, citing a forensic analysis of her writing showing the answer sheet was not tampered. Malak’s lawer, however, has submitted new evidence of forgery, citing an analysis conducted by the professor who heads the forensics department at Tanta University, who concluded that Malak’s answer sheet had indeed been tampered with.  [AMAY, 9/15/2015]

Actors Syndicate heads granted the power of arrest
Six council members of the Actors Syndicate have been granted powers of arrest in legislation aiming to confront violations of the laws that regulate the syndicate, its membership, and artistic production. The decree, issued by Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zend and published in Egypt’s Official Gazette on Sunday, names the members who have been granted these wide-ranging powers of arrest — including the syndicate’s President and Secretary General. These powers will allow them to “confront any crime breaching the Actors Syndicate Law. Some, including TV producer Mohamad al-Adl have declared the decree unconstitutional, saying, “Should I expect to be arrested while conducting my work? Should I now expect the arrest of those talented actors, with whom I often work, merely because they are not members of the syndicate?” [Mada Masr, 9/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s Azhar sends condolences to victims of tourist convoy attack | Ahram Online
  • Power returns to Egypt’s Red Sea coast after hour-long outage | Ahram Online
  • Number of births decreased in 2015 says minister | AMAY
  • Egypt tycoon ‘in talks to buy two Greek islands for refugees’ | AFP
  • Health Ministry to treat poor using smart card system | AMAY
  • River boat owners protest ban in Garden City area | AMAY


Eleven militants and one soldier killed in North Sinai operation
The Egyptian military killed eleven alleged militants and arrested fifty-one suspects on the eighth consecutive day of the Martyr’s Right operation, according (Warning: Graphic Images) to the official Military Spokesman. The operation has focused on sweeping the areas surrounding the North Sinai cities of al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah. Additionally, one soldier was killed and another injured during the operation. [DNE, MENA, Aswat Masriya, 9/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Cairo Airport authorities thwart attempt to smuggle mummified animals | AMAY
  • Over 100 arrested over border infiltration bid in Matrouh | MENA


Mexico Foreign Minister flies to Cairo for answers on attack
Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, flew to Cairo late Monday to seek answers from Egyptian authorities over an airstrike that mistakenly killed Mexican tourists. Ruiz Massieu said she was traveling with seven relatives of some of the victims as well as Mexican doctors to care for the wounded. She added that her government had only confirmed that two Mexicans were killed and six wounded in the attack. She said authorities were still trying to find out what happened to another six tourists. Mexico’s ambassador to Egypt reportedly said Monday that the two dead Mexican citizens were identified as Luis Barajas Fernandez and Maria de Lourdes Fernandez Rubio. A third Mexican citizen, Rafael Bejarano, was confirmed dead by his sister. The US State Department said Monday, during a daily press briefing, that it was looking into reports suggesting a US national was among those injured. Egypt’s Ambassador to Mexico, Yasser Shaaban, meanwhile, told reporters in Mexico City that vehicles used by a tour group attacked by Egyptian forces in the western desert were “similar to those used by terrorists.” Shaaban did not repeat earlier assertions that the tourists were in an off-limits area when they came under attack. Hassan al-Nahla, Tour Guides Syndicate Chairman, published a copy of the Interior Ministry’s approval of the tour group’s trip to the Baharia Oasis, refuting claims by the ministry to the contrary. Egypt’s prosecution, meanwhile, ordered on Tuesday DNA tests to identify the bodies of the victims. The prosecution said it was difficult to identify the bodies as they did not have passports or identification on them. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 9/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s Chief of Staff heads to London on official visit | Aswat Masriya
  • Our cooperation and exchange of views cover all aspects says Pakistani Ambassador to Egypt | DNE
  • Egyptian, Saudi Foreign Ministers discuss promoting cooperation | MENA