Petroleum company official blames deadly explosion on former finance minister

Araby Abdel Hamid, head of the legal department at the Suez Company for Petroleum Manufacturing, has said he holds former Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali responsible for an explosion in which five workers were killed on Wednesday.

Abdel Hamid told state news agency MENA that Boutros-Ghali refused to replace the company’s machinery or modernize it on a regular basis even though the company’s officials submitted 20 requests to do so.

He said the blast was a result of successive governments' corruption over the past 30 years.

He said Boutros-Ghali wanted to merge the Suez Company for Petroleum Manufacturing and Nasr Petroleum as a step towards privatizing petroleum purification companies, but the General Petroleum Authority rejected the idea. As a result, Abdel Hamid said, Boutros-Ghali insisted that the company’s equipment not be overhauled.

The fire started when one of the company’s containers for separating oils exploded, according to MENA, which put the number of people injured at eight. Authorities said a pump had burst inside the container.

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