Right after the revolution of 2011, there were 118 accusations against me, including everything from corruption to money laundering and they were all politically motivated. They were collected by the Police/prosecution in 53 “dossiers” and then investigated for a year, with questioning over a hundred of the BA employees as well as representatives of the Government Auditing Office. At the end of that process, not wanting to say that all the accusations were politically motivated and totally unfounded, the prosecutors admitted that there was no indication of any intent to benefit by any BA transactions (a felony) and therefore moved the case with accusations of “negligent management” to misdemeanor court. Generally, misdemeanor court will only give a small fine for proven charges of negligent management, and prison is considered a possibility only if that negligence resulted in the death of someone.
They presented three charges of “negligent management” to the court at the end of 2011. These were:
First, Of the 2400 employees in the BA (almost all on contract, managed on a merit-based system) there were about 100 employees on civil service status (managed on a seniority based system) who remained on a separate government payroll but still assigned to the BA. These claimed that they received their salaries and did not get enough assignments so that there was not enough output and therefore the payment of their salaries without adequate output represented “squandered public funds”. Actually I did submit evidence that they had refused to accept assignments, but as civil servants they could not be fired. Anyway the “squandered funds” were supposed to be their salaries multiplied by the number of years they had remained at the BA! Well, I would love to see that test applied to the 6-7 million civil servants in Egypt!! But worse, why would I, the head of the organization, be held accountable for that and not the many layers of intermediate managers between them and me and who should have been the ones to supervise them? Any minister would then be subject to similar prosecution if there are some of his staff who are not working at full capacity!
Second, we cancelled an insurance policy and paid back to the staff the payments that they had made into the policy. The money was distributed to the 2400 staff, but the accusation is that I “fooled” the Board of Trustees into accepting to make that payment to the staff.
Third, we rented a few spaces for cafeterias in the BA plaza based on negotiations rather than through an open bidding process, which they claimed “could have resulted in a loss to the public treasury”, although they could not prove that the public treasury lost any funds.
From November2011 to June 2012 I was banned from travel while this investigation and prosecution was going on. In March 2012 it went before a misdemeanor court judge, who reviewed the report prepared by the prosecution experts, heard the oral arguments and in June of 2012 the misdemeanor court judge ruled that he could not accept the prosecution’s report, and asked that a totally different team of prosecution experts should prepare a new report and he would reconvene the court when that new report would be submitted. He also removed the ban on my travel.
However, we then had the Muslim Brotherhood in power (2012-2013) and they tried to add to the accusations against me, but failed. Some accusation were taken to the prosecution office for illegal gains (Kasb ghair Mashrou’) but were ultimately completely dismissed. However, they refused to appoint the new experts that the judge had requested to prepare a new report on the three accusations. Then we had a lot of turmoil and the prosecutor’s office still refused to prepare a new report. Finally, a new team of experts were appointed in 2016 and they produced a new report that basically more or less dismissed the three charges. This was discussed in Misdemeanor court before a different judge in March of this year, and everyone expected a dismissal. The judge for some reason held the matter in abeyance for four months, and then to the surprise of everyone this judge produced that amazing verdict: 2 years plus 1 year plus 6 months on the first, second and third charge respectively. He has not yet produced the reasons for his decision which runs counter to the report of the prosecution’s own experts.
There has been an uproar in Egypt. The media (TV and newspapers) and the social media (Facebook and Twitter and Whatsapp) have been very vocal, overwhelmingly supporting me and disparaging the way I was being treated …. I immediately appealed and the appeals court shall hear the case on September 19th . I hope for (and expect) a dismissal of the charges.