The Illegal Profiting Apparatus (IPA) on Monday transferred People’s Assembly Secretary General Sami Mahran to criminal court on allegations of embezzlement and abuse of authority.
Numerous petitions and appeals have been submitted to the IPA for more than a year, many accusing Mahran, who held the same post during the Mubarak regime, of unlawfully owning a business worth EGP 22 million. The IPA placed a travel ban on Mahran and released him on EGP 50,000 bail.
Speaker of the recently dissolved People’s Assembly, Saad El-Katatny, kept Mahran in his position despite continuous protest from parliament employees against Mahran, stating that it was in his authority as speaker to do so.
Commenting on Mahran’s arrest, Mohamed Al-Beltagy, parliamentarian and Freedom and Justice Party senior member, told Daily News Egypt that parliament had seen several protests from staff condemning Mahran’s administration.
He expressed concern for the timing of taking such action against Mahran though, saying, “it was probably expected since there have been investigations for a long while. One would only ask about why the decision was taken in this particular timing.”
When asked about El-Katatny’s earlier statements, Al-Beltagy criticised El-Katatny’s interference and said officials attached to the legislative body should not comment on cases subject to judicial processs. He added that the People’s Assembly has no role in interfering with investigations relating to Mahran’s trial.
In April 2011, protests were held by parliament employees calling upon Mahran to step down.
Employees who used to work closely with Mahran in office declined to comment on his arrest. However, Gamila Abdel Qadder, former head of the transportation committee in parliament, told Daily News Egypt that she has repeatedly submitted documents to El-Katatny and the Administrative Oversight Authority that prove Mahran’s corruption.
“I have known Mahran for about 26 years. He stole lands that originally belonged to parliaments’ employees and built his Yasmin Resort in 6th of October neighbourhood,” she said. The former member of staff told Daily News Egypt that Mahran had illegally transferred about EGP 200 million to banks in Switzerland under the name of his daughter.
Another former employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Daily News Egypt that El-Katatny and other senior heads of the FJP were aware that Mahran had committed unlawful acts. The source said during meetings with internal staff, El-Katatny heard complaints against Mahran and always asked the employees to stay patient until they took action against him.