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Former Al-Ahram chairman released

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Investigations judge had ordered detention of former Al-Ahram official for 15 days

Abdel Fatah El-Gebali, former chairman of state-run Al-Ahram newspaper, was released on Monday, one day after his detention was ordered for 15 days.

Investigations Judge Tharwat Hamad had ordered on Sunday El-Gebali’s detention. He was being investigated for seizing and facilitating the seizure of EGP 500m from the newspaper’s funds, state-run MENA reported.

The investigative judicial committee headed by Hamad is also looking into EGP 1.1m, which El-Gebali allegedly acquired for himself in violation of Al-Ahram’s regulations.

State-run Ahram reported that El-Gebali agreed to settle the charges of squandering the institution’s public funds and that he handed in documents to discredit the allegations of financial violations.

The case, however, will remain open until the judiciary decides upon it.

The investigations with the former Al-Ahram official began when complaints were filed from Al-Ahram journalists and the Administrative Control Authority from the Central Auditing Agency.

El-Gebali was appointed as chairman of Al-Ahram, the largest circulating paper in the country, on 3 November 2011.

This case is not the first regarding financial corruption within Al-Ahram and the issue seems to cut across other state-run media.

Twenty-six former regime officials were brought to court for receiving illegal gifts from the chairmen of the board of directors of Al-Ahram. The defendants include former President Hosni Mubarak, his wife, their two children and their wives.

Hanan Abdel-Halim, a news anchor at state-run broadcaster, which is commonly referred to as Maspero, said there has been financial corruption in the institution since the time of Abdel Latif El-Menawy, the former head of the news sector at Maspero who served in the position until March 2011.

Abdel-Halim said the Illicit Gains Authority monitored after El-Menway resigned several unusual numbers, such as EGP 55,000 spent on chairs.


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