Egyptian Auditor Convicted For Spreading False News


A former top Egyptian auditor has been sacked and convicted after he alleged government corruption.

He was given a prison sentence for spreading false news.

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In March this year, Hisham Geneina was fired by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi after he estimated an accumulated loss of $67.6bn (£51.3bn) accrued over the duration of four years.

After he was fired, the President had himself appointed a fact-finding commission that concluded the auditor had over-estimated the scale of corruption and had thus misled the public.

The lawyer of the Egyptian auditor, Ali Taha, said prosecutors had failed to prove their accusations and said the case for the defence had not been examined. Reporters had been blocked from entering the sentencing at a Cairo court.

Judicial sources, however, revealed that he was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $2,200 but was told he could avoid prison if he paid an additional $1,100.

Hisham Geneina who is a former judge denied the charges brought against him, stating that they were politically motivated. The case in question had been built based on comments Geneina made to two Egyptian newspapers last December when he was still head of the Accountability State Authority (ASA).

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He had been quoted as saying in the interview that due to corruption, Egypt had lost some 600bn Egyptian pounds ($67.6bn) in 2015 alone, mostly in corrupt land deals.

Geneina later said that he had been misquoted and that the figure covered four years, a claim supported by a separate interview with another newspaper.

He also noted that the figure was based on a study commissioned by the Egyptian planning ministry and carried out with the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Such allegations are a blow to President Sisi’s government considering the President had made fighting corruption a top priority since coming to power after leading the military’s overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.