General prosecutor issues gag order on corruption case after auditing authority’s response

General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek issued a gag order Wednesday on reporting details concerning an investigation into a corruption report by the Central Auditing Authority (CAA), after a presidential investigative committee found the authority’s head Hesham Geneina guilty of misrepresenting facts about state corruption.

The privately-owned Al-Tahrir newspaper published on Tuesday a copy of the CAA’s response to claims by the presidential investigative committee. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had ordered the formation of the committee following statements by Geneina on the extent of corruption in Egypt last month.

The CAA accused the presidential committee of using “unfortunate propaganda” in its report. The response clarified the context and source of Geneina’s assertions that corruption in Egypt in the last four years has cost the state LE600 billion.

The agency asserted Geneina’s claims were based on a report compiled at the request of the Planning Ministry to support a study determining the cost of corruption in Egypt.

The agency reasserted its supervisory role of state bodies under the law, claiming it had informed certain bodies of violations and they never corrected them.

Assem Abdel Aty, former deputy of the CAA and head of the Egyptian Center for Transparency and Countering Corruption, considers the current standoff to be down to a lack of transparency on both sides. Abdel Aty says Geneina didn’t publish his original report and its supporting documents and only made statements concerning the level of corruption.

Abdel Aty asserted that the work of the CAA is not speculative and is strictly based on documented information. He maintained transparency is the best weapon against corruption in the absence of witness protection for corruption cases.

Egypt’s new parliament formed a special committee on Sunday to discuss the presidential committee’s report on the CAA.

Geneina sent a letter to parliament on Monday requesting a copy of the presidential committee’s report, after the committee, according to the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, ignored his repeated requests.

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