Committee finds head of auditing body guilty of manipulating facts on state corruption

A presidential investigative committee found head of the Central Auditing Authority (CAA) Hesham Geneina guilty of misrepresenting and manipulating facts about state corruption, the privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper reported Tuesday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the committee to look into statements made by the head of the body responsible for overseeing state funds and expenditure and revealing financial corruption in an interview with the privately owned Youm7 in late December. In the interview, Geneina claimed corruption within official institutions cost Egypt over LE600 billion in 2015 alone.

The committee accused Geneina of overstating the level of corruption in state institutions and asserted he had miscalculated how much it cost the nation. They said his statements weren’t backed up by facts and figures, claiming he had over exaggerated figures in his monitoring reports, and included incidents that preceded 2015, as well as ongoing corruption cases and those in which the defendants were found innocent.

The committee was led by the head of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) Mohamed Gamal Eddin and included representatives from the ministries of planning, finance, interior and justice.

After the results of the committee’s investigation were released on Sunday, Sisi ordered them to send their findings to the newly formed parliament to determine what the consequences should be.

The committee’s findings were a hot topic on Twitter, with the hashtag #Hesham_Geneina becoming the top-trending topic in Egypt on Tuesday evening. Some users rejoiced in Geneina’s downfall, calling him a liar and asserting, “liars go to hell,” while others cited the impossibility of investigating corruption without consequences from the state.

Geneina has repeatedly run into trouble in the last few months for alleging corrupt governmental practices.

On January 5, Geneina was summoned to appear before the Court of Appeals on January 18 for questioning pertaining to allegations that he insulted the judiciary, which were filed by Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend.

Zend’s accusations followed Geneina’s television appearance in November 2014. He also questioned the integrity of investigations into the case previously.

In October 2014, Geneina was forced to pay a fine of LE30,000 for insulting the Judges Club in an interview with the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

Geneina has alleged he was threatened by state actors in the past to prevent him from revealing information about the Judges Club, the general prosecutor, the Interior Ministry and other state bodies.

Geneina previously told Mada Masr he thinks new legislation passed by Sisi in July —giving him power to remove the heads of independent and oversight bodies — threatens transparency. He asserted that the decree was orchestrated by Zend, after a corruption case filed by Geneina implicated the minister. Local media outlets also speculated that the law was tailored to remove Geneina from his position. 

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