An Egyptian court sentenced the former minister of Agriculture, Salah Eddin Helal and his office manager to 10 years in prison after it found them guilty of corruption.
Along with the sentence, the former minister of Agriculture Salah Eddin Helal was also fined $110,000 and his chief-of-staff Muhyidin Said was also fined $55,000. Salah Eddin Helal had resigned in September last year after being accused of collecting bribes to sell state land at a heavily discounted price. Prosecutors for the case mentioned a luxury home, membership to an exclusive sports club and high-end clothing as part of the bribes collected.
The corruption scandal had led to the resignation of Ibrahim Mehleb’s government, and Mr Mehleb’s subsequent replacement by Ismail Sharif. The facilitator and the businessman who paid the bribe were however not prosecuted or jailed according to a judicial officer; because they had confessed.
Egypt is the country that drove out their long time President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, part of the reason being widespread anger at the corruption displayed in his regime. In May 2015, Mubarak and his two sons were found guilty at a retrial of embezzlement and sentenced to three and four years in prison respectively. Two months later, a former prime minister under Mubarak, Ahmed Nazif, was sentenced to five years after being convicted of corruption charges at a retrial.
This ruling along with the past rulings will therefore generally resonate with the people and seeing as Egypt was ranked 88th out of 168 countries on Transparency International’s 2015 corruption perceptions index, the country like most African countries does need to get tougher on corruption. Incumbent President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who led the military’s overthrow of Mubarak’s democratically elected successor Mohammed Morsi in 2013, has promised to make the fight against corruption a focus of his administration and he does seem to be taking the fight seriously.