Former housing minister appeals 8-year sentence

The defense of former Housing Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Suleiman has appealed Tuesday the eight-year sentence he received for facilitating the acquisition of state land and wasting public funds in favor of SODIC, a construction company owned by Alaa Mubarak’s father-in-law Magdy Rasekh.

Suleiman was also convicted of acquiring land in New Cairo in violation of the law.

His lawyer based the appeal on lack of evidence and accused the court of contradicting the case documents, preventing Suleiman's right to defense and misunderstanding the facts of the case. He also said the prosecution considered Suleiman an accomplice and not the real perpetrator of the crime.

In March, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Suleiman, Rasekh, and businessmen Yahya al-Komi and Imad al-Hazeq on charges of illegally seizing state land and squandering public funds.

The state-run MENA news agency reported that in the first case, the court sentenced Suleiman and Rasekh to five years of hard labor and ordered them to repay LE81 million, as well as an additional fine equal to the amount they owe. They were convicted of profiteering, squandering public funds and illegal acquisition of state land.

The court also sentenced Ezzat Abdel Raouf Abdel Qader, former head of the New Urban Communities for Real Estate and Commercial Affairs Sector, to one year of hard labor and part of the LE81 million repayment, and former General Authority for Urban Communities officials Fouad Madbouli, Hassan Khaled Fadel and Mohamed Ahmed Abdel Dayem to one-year suspended sentences on similar charges.

MENA said that in the second case, the court sentenced Suleiman on similar charges to three years of hard labor and ordered him to repay LE34 million pounds and a fine equal to that amount. The court sentenced Komi and Hazeq to one-year suspended sentences and fined them LE4 million and LE6.7 million, respectively.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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