Court sentences former housing minister to 5 years in prison

An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced former housing minister Ahmed al-Maghrabi to five years in prison after convicting him on charges of squandering public money and facilitating the acquisition of state-owned land.

Judicial sources said the Cairo Criminal Court also gave the second defendant in the case, businessman Mounir Ghabbour, a one-year suspended sentence. The court slapped al-Maghrabi and Ghabbour with a LE144.488 million fine, which they must pay to the state.

The prosecution had referred the two defendants to trial following complaints that Mounir Ghabbour's Sakkara Tourism Investment Company seized 18 acres of land. The land was adjacent to other plots of land controlled by his company and obtained from New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA).

According to the investigations, Maghrabi allowed the company to buy the land at lower than market value. The investigations also revealed that following Maghrabi’s instruction, NUCA paid nearly half of the cost of redirecting power lines passing through the plot of land, saving Ghabbour nearly LE72 million.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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