MP submits draft bill to recover money transferred abroad

MP Essam Sultan, vice president of the moderate Islamist Wasat Party, has submitted a draft law to repatriate assets siphoned abroad by the members of the former regime.

“I wrote the law when I saw that the government is asking for international loans,” Sultan said in statement published on the party’s website on Sunday, urging People’s Assembly speaker Saad al-Katatny to pass the law as soon as possible.

Sultan said that his draft law should be discussed even though parliamentary committees have not yet been elected.

Following the ouster of former President Mubarak, Egypt’s ruling military council issued a law creating an anti-graft committee tasked with recouping money Mubarak and his family had moved abroad.

Former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in June asked for amendments to the law in order to give the committee more power to investigate all figures of the former regime, not just the Mubaraks.

According to the original law, the committee consists of number of ministers who are in tasked with following up on the work of the Illicit Gains Authority. The latter consists of judicial figures, headed by Judge Assem al-Gohary.

However, Sultan said that the committee has no real power, adding that it lacks banking and economic experts.

He also said that the Illicit Gains Authority has asked to freeze assets for only 18 persons, meaning that people who were linked to the illegal transfer of assets are not being charged for their crimes.  

The Illicit Gains Authority revealed on 17 October that the former President’s sons hold assets worth US$340 million in Switzerland and may have been involved in money laundering.

Sultan said that the government that followed Sharaf’s, that of Kamal al-Ganzouri, has not made any effort to claim money illegally siphoned abroad.

On Thursday, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abouelnaga said that the government is going to activate the ministerial committee responsible for recovering assets discovered by the Illicit Gains Authority.

According to the draft law suggested by Sultan, a new committee should be formed consisting of three officials from the Foreign Affairs Ministry who are familiar with economic issues. The committee should also include two judges from the Illicit Gains Authority and two prosecutors.

The committee would represent Egypt in contacting the governments of countries where assets have been discovered.

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