“The Trial of the Century’s” verdict on the Gas Case: Impunity in Corruption Cases Continues
A wasted golden opportunity to achieve justice in public funds cases
The case of exporting gas at very low prices is perhaps one of the key corruption cases in modern times. It is so due to its scope and impact on the lives of millions of Egyptians, the involvement of top state officials, the wide attention by the public, and its historic and political significance. Many analysts and followers of the case maintained the impossibility that the former President Mubarak was unaware or even uninvolved in the case, if only due to the fact that the issue is a matter of “sovereignty” concerning one of our key natural resources. The matter is also part of the mandate of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), and an obligation provided for in Camp David Accord. More prominently, Mubarak is a close friend of the former intelligence officer and the current fugitive businessman, Hussein Salem – a friendship attested to by General Omar Suliman, the Vice President during the 25 January Revolution, during his testimony for the same case. Moreover, the General stated, in his testimony, that this was a non-tender commission of gas exportation to Salem.
EIPR issued a comment on the explanatory note appended to the verdict (the part related to the gas case) issued by the North Cairo Criminal Court on 29 November 2014. According to the verdict of what was dubbed as “the trial of the century”, Mubarak was acquitted in a case where he, his two sons, Minister of Interior and the six aides thereof, as well as Salem were accused of killing protestors during the 25 January Protests and of financial corruption and wasting public money. The case also involved the exportation of gas to Israel. The verdict stirred a heated debate about the seriousness and impartiality of the Court and the verdict itself. Many questions were posed about the independence of the judiciary and the efficiency of legal procedures, and whether there were any loopholes in legislation.
EIPR has recently published a detailed report on the corruption in transactions involving natural gas during Mubarak’s reign. The report maintains that the losses of exporting gas to Jordan, Spain, and Israel, cost the state treasury almost USD 10 billion during the period 2005-2010. The report relied on accurate calculations primarily based on the prices indicated in the papers of the various cases filed concerning exporting gas at cheap prices.
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