Museum staff: Management ignored requests for security upgrades

In testimony to prosecutors, security personnel employed at Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil Museum–from which a Vincent Van Gogh painting was stolen last month–said that museum management had ignored repeated requests for the upgrade of the museum's security systems.

Museum curators had been scheduled to work two days a week in alternating shifts, according to testimony given, but would often skip a day–meaning that curators were often absent from the museum.

Prosecutors will also hear testimony from Salah al-Meligi, head of the Central Administration of Museums, to determine his responsibility for the theft. They will also hear testimony from Mohsen Shaalan, the assistant minister of culture who is currently in police custody pending investigation.

Olfat al-Guindi, head of the ministry’s Central Financial and Administrative Department, for her part, held al-Meligi and Shaalan directly responsible for the loss of the painting. In her testimony, she said she had provided the museum with some LE500,000 to upgrade its security system, but said the funds had been spent on restoring another museum that did not contain any valuable items.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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