Corruption watchdog: Presidency, state security guilty of squandering

In a wide scale media campaign, Hesham Geneina, the head of the Central Auditing Organization, released information about money squandering in several state sectors, including the presidency and the security apparatus.

According to the state-owned Al-Ahram, the squandered funds that Geneina reported have reached LE70 billion. In a press conference held on Monday, Geneina said violations documented by the organization in state-run projects amount to LE23.5 million.

Squandering within the presidency as cited by Geneina goes back to the time of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. According to Geneina, the presidency’s budget during Morsi’s rule increased by LE44 million from the year before. He also explained that while Morsi’s main salary was at LE44,416, he was also granted some LE793,652, as the balance from the basic salary had been spent on unaccounted expenses, prompting the need to issue a law to determine the president’s wage.

Geneina added that some advisers working for Morsi received wages from both the presidency and from their initial public employers, which counters the law.

Meanwhile, Geneina also reported on corruption cases where current state officials are implicated. According to the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm, Geneina claimed that officers within the State Security Prosecution illegally acquired lands in the Sheikh Zayed area. According to the paper, Geneina said in a press conference that he received threats from the prosecution, after it learned that the organization documented that some of its members were implicated in illegal land acquisitions. Geneina added that the Ministry of Interior refused to collaborate with his organization in unveiling corruption practices within the security apparatus.

The head of the auditing watchdog also reported squandering by government officials and consultants in the maritime transportation sector, the oil sector, and the construction sector. More specifically, Geneina reported corruption cases within lands acquired that infringe on the Nile Basin, besides the Sheikh Zayed case.

Geneina demanded the president and the prime minister form a fact-finding  mission to investigate the squandered funds, and said that this report was already sent to both of them, with the public prosecutor already having been informed about it since November of last year. He lamented the lack of response from the prosecution.

Meanwhile, Geneina’s report was used by political adversaries, namely pro-government and pro-military officials, as well as Brotherhood leaders, to send mutual accusations. The Brotherhood mouthpiece Ikhwan Online focused its report on Geneina’s statements on violations committed by the security apparatus.

Speaking to Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Ashraf Badr Eddin, former MP under Morsi’s rule, said that the Central Auditing Organization’s report exposed the security apparatus’ corruption and showed that the current government is “a gang that steals the money of Egyptians.”

Meanwhile, state-run newspapers report on Geneina’s statements focused on the case of squandering within the presidency under Morsi’s rule, ignoring other details in the report that may also incriminate the Ministry of Interior.

A former controller, Assem Abdel Moaty told “Akher al-Nahar”, a show that airs on a privately-owned TV channel that Geneina’s report is not based on real documentation and auditing but is a political tool to improve Morsi’s image.

The Central Auditing Organization was established in 1942 and tasked with the supervision of public sector companies and government institutions. In 2011, and following the January 25 revolution, a call for reform within the organization was spearheaded by a number of its controllers, dissatisfied with its limited mandate and subjugation under the Hosni Mubarak regime.

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