CAIRO: Former Housing Minister and current National Democratic Party (NDP) MP Mohamed Ibrahim Suleiman resigned his seat in the People’s Assembly (PA) and is facing an investigation into alleged profiteering during his tenure as minister.
House Speaker Ahmed Fathi Sorour also announced during Monday’s PA session that the State Council had annulled the decision to appoint Suleiman as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Maritime Petroleum Services Company which falls under the umbrella of the Petroleum Ministry.
The company is also looking to retrieve LE 350,000 Suleiman was paid as a salary over the past seven months.
The decision to remove him from the post was instigated by independent MPs who submitted a request for his discharge based on an administrative law as well as a constitutional principle that prohibits MPs from holding government posts.
Independent MP Gamal Zahran, who submitted the initial request urging the revocation of Suleiman’s appointment to the company, told Daily News Egypt Tuesday, “This is a political victory because we have proven that the government has violated the law and constitution. If we hadn’t submitted the request to remove him then nothing would have happened.
“[Suleiman’s] acceptance of the post in the first place left him in a position where he would be liable for action such as this, he added.
There were reports that Suleiman resigned as MP in the hope of keeping his position in the company.
There was some dispute in the assembly over the authority of the State Council to have him removed from his post, some members arguing that it was a decision that could only legally be carried out by the General Assembly of the company itself.
However, NDP MP Mohamed Khalil Kwaiteh told Daily News Egypt, “The State Council has the right to remove him according to the constitution because as an MP he is not allowed to hold a government post.
Suleiman’s seat in the Gamaliya district is now vacant after the PA accepted his resignation in Monday’s vote. Sorour announced to the assembly that his resignation had been accepted after the vote was cast.
Matters went pear-shaped for Suleiman when the Administrative Control Authority and 47 independent and opposition MPs submitted complaints to the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding Suleiman’s 12-year tenure as minister, which ended in 2005.
Investigations into Suleiman’s dealings while in office began last month over allegations that he appropriated prime plots of land to family members and friends as well as current and former cabinet ministers when he was the Minister of Housing.
These accusations have been leveled at Suleiman in the past – and indeed he has already survived one investigation – but his recent high-profile entry into the petroleum sector revived questions regarding his time at the ministry.
“It is his right to resign. The investigation is in the hands of the prosecution and we cannot speculate until they finish their investigation and submit their findings, Kwaiteh said.
Zahran said, “There is an investigation, but it is also a public debate. Whatever the investigation finds, the matter is now one for public opinion and they can form their own judgment.
In a TV interview last year, Suleiman said, “I bought a villa for my son like every other [Egyptian] citizen.