Zakariya Azmy trial adjourned to 9 January

The Cairo Criminal Court on Monday adjourned to 9 January the trial of the former presidential chief of staff, Zakariya Azmy, who is facing charges of corruption.

Azmy’s wife Bahia Halawa and her brother Gamal Abdel Moneim Halawa are also standing trial at the same court. The three defendants are charged with amassing illegal profits worth LE42.598 million.

On 7 April, Azmy, who served as Hosni Mubarak's chief of staff for 22 years, was arrested after being accused by state prosecutors of using his position to amass a personal fortune. He was questioned by Essam al-Gawahry, a senior Justice Ministry official heading a committee in charge of uncovering corruption during Mubarak's 30-year rule.

After four months of investigation, prosecutors said he had abused his power as presidential chief of the staff, as a member of parliament, and in other leading positions in the now-dissolved National Democratic Party. His case was referred to the court after Gawahry froze his assets.

According to the investigation, Azmy and his wife obtained plots of land through allocation by direct order, which was a violation of the law.

On Sunday, the court listened to the testimony of witnesses in the case. According to prosecution witness Fadi Mohammad Mukhtar, a member of the Administrative Control Authority, the financial disclosures of Azmy and his wife are not commensurate with their legal sources of income. He stated that  Azmy exploited his position to gain illegal profits.

Investigations also found that Gamal Halawa hid his real-estate holdings from the tax authorities, relying on his kinship with Azmy for protection.

Azmy is among several Mubarak regime officials to be investigated and have assets frozen in response to demands by revolutionary forces for tough action against those who amassed wealth at the expense of ordinary Egyptians.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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