CAIRO: Following a two-year investigation into corruption allegations leveled against the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie and director of advertising Hamdy Hassan, Chief Prosecutor at the Court of Appeals Ahmed Idriss, decided to end the investigation and drop all charges against both men.
According to an Al-Ahram article that ran Friday, the corruption allegations were filed by MP Mostafa Bakry, Saad El Halawany, a former Ahram advertising employee and Ahmed El Naggar a board member at Al-Ahram.
Journalist and MP Mostafa Bakry accused Nafie and his sons Ahmed and Omar of colluding with Hamdy to establish a private company called Inter Group to secure an exclusive deal to supply Al-Ahram with vital materials like ink, computers and paper.
Investigations, however, revealed that Inter Group company is indeed owned by Ahmed and Omar Nafie but that it had no dealings with Al Ahram institution.
Mustafa El Bortoqaly, a former board member in Al-Ahram, further accused Nafie and Hamdy of making legal violations that damaged the institution. He cited the case of a debt settlement they made with Magdy Yaqoub Nasif, an advertiser who owed Al-Ahram LE 5 million with a collateral piece of land worth no more than LE 500,000.
Yet during the investigation, testimony by central bank experts agreed that the land was actually worth LE 5 million, thus refuting allegations of financial mismanagement.
Ahmed El Naggar and Saad El Halawany claimed that Hassan Hamdy was also working with Ad-line Media Company which violates the financial and administrative statutes of Al-Ahram.
Hamdy was accused of giving exclusive rights of advertising in the Arabic issue distributed in Gulf countries to the Ad-line, but investigations showed that the deal between Al-Ahram and Ad-line was legal and caused and indeed generated income to Al-Ahram.
Reacting to the verdict, Mostafa Bakry told Al-Dostour opposition daily, “I’m shocked. Assuming that I’m a fraud, what about the other 12 reports filed by members of Al-Ahram institution itself? Are they also false? I filed 12,000 documents proving my case and after two years of clandestine investigations without interrogating Nafie, the charges are [miraculously] dropped.