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Egyptian ex-minister sentenced to five years; 3 others acquitted

Arab World Materials 5 July 2011 15:35
Former Egyptian minister of trade Rachid Mohamed Rachid was sentenced in absentia on Tuesday to five years in prison for squandering public funds, while three others were acquitted of similar charges.
Egyptian ex-minister sentenced to five years; 3 others acquitted

Former Egyptian minister of trade Rachid Mohamed Rachid was sentenced in absentia on Tuesday to five years in prison for squandering public funds, while three others were acquitted of similar charges, DPA reported.

Rachid and two officials were also ordered to each pay 2 million Egyptian pounds (335,000 dollars) in compensation to the state, plus the same amount in fines, a source said.

Rachid and the two executives were sentenced for squandering public wealth belonging to the Industrial Modernization Centre, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Rachid's current location is unknown, after he fled the country early February. His assets have been frozen by the Egyptian authorities.

The businessman, who served as minister until January 31, was also sentenced to five years' prison in another case last month.

Former ministers of information and finance, Anas al-Fiqqi and Youssef Boutrous-Ghali, were acquitted Tuesday of charges of wasting 10 million pounds in public funds on election campaigns for the former ruling party during last year's parliamentary polls.

Boutrous-Ghali, whose location remains unknown, was sentenced in absentia last month to 30 years in prison on corruption charges.

The court also acquitted former housing minister Ahmed al-Maghrabi and two other officials of corruption.

Egypt has seen continued rallies demanding trials of former officials and faster economic and political reforms by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in charge of the country since president Hosny Mubarak was ousted in February.

Mubarak, along with his sons Alaa and Gamal, will be tried in a criminal court in August for alleged involvement in killing protesters, as well as on corruption charges.

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