CAIRO: The public prosecutor’s office declared during a press conference on Monday that Hani Sorour, chairman of Hidelina company which manufactured the defective blood bags, was guilty.
Also implicated were several company employees, Sorour’s sister and partner Nivan Sorour, and two officials at the Ministry of Health. The firm was accused of producing 200,000 contaminated blood bags infected with bacteria and fungi likely to cause cancer and hepatitis.
The investigations also revealed severe negligence in some sections of the Ministry of Health, notably the blood unit, the pharmaceutical department, and the National Center for Monitoring and Medical Research and government hospitals, which all come under the jurisdiction of the health ministry.
But when contacted by The Daily Star Egypt, Dr. Abdel Rahman Shahin, media spokesperson at the ministry, refused to comment.
He said that the issue is being investigated by the public prosecutor who is the only person authorized to talk about the case. The ministry has nothing to say, he added.
According to Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, those accused include the general manager of Hidelina Wafaa Abd El Rahim, the production manager Ashraf Ishaq, quality control manager of the factory, Fathia Abd El Rahim, and the director of the blood affairs department at the Ministry of Health Dr. Helmy Salah El Din, and the chairman of the technical office in the blood affairs department Dr. Mohamed Wagdan Shoukry.
The public prosecutor announced at the same press conference that he is about to release 16 top Ministry of Health officials since investigations have proven their innocence. Their names have also been removed from a list of those prohibited from leaving the country.
Reportedly, the investigations have proved that there were violations in the license given to Sorour s company to produce the blood bags, since the company had no previous experience in the field.
Officials at the Ministry of Health and members of the committee that authorizes companies to work in the health sector were questioned on this matter.
Officials at the Ministry of Trade and Industry who were questioned during the investigation indicated that the company had committed 18 industrial violations in relation to Egyptian and international standards for manufacturing blood bags.
The prosecutor’s office denied the validity of the People s Assembly’s investigations committee report that found Sorour not guilty, adding that the committee has no authority to rule in criminal cases.
Mohamed Khalil Kwaitah, PA member affiliated with the National Democratic Party (NDP) concurred. He told The Daily Star Egypt in a previous interview that the investigations committee report was concerned with the Sorour’s status as an MP.
The criminal side is to be decided by the the public prosecutor’s office and the PA has no say in it, he said.