CAIRO: A new report by the Central Accounting Agency has confirmed the involvement of more members of parliament than those already mentioned in an unprecedented public health scandal.
The Public Funds Prosecution is currently investigating a case known as the “Free medical treatment” case in which 15 MPs from the People’s Assembly and Shoura Council (Upper House of Parliament) are involved in exploiting public funds to gain access to the health ministry’s free medical treatment program.
“The implementation of the decrees for free medical treatment include many shortcomings, violations, discrepancies … deficiency of internal control has resulted in the exploitation of public funds,” said the report which was sent to the Public Funds Prosecution on Saturday.
According to the report, in 2009 alone decrees for free medical treatment were worth LE 3.09 billion while over the past three years, the program had spent LE 8.335 billion. Decrees approving free medical treatment issued between July 2007 and February 2010 were worth around LE 60 million with some decrees worth LE 1.7 million.
Minister of Health Hatem El-Gabali, has been summoned to give his testimony in the case. Last week, he visited Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud at his office, which triggered rumors that he was being interrogated.
However, the ministry denied the rumors in a statement saying that it was only a “friendly” visit to discuss a number of matters related to the ministry.
“The visit was not because he was summoned by the [Prosecutor General]. The visit lasted 20 minutes and the conversation did not touch on issues related to the free medical case,” a statement said.
The case of MPs exploiting the state’s free medical care program was brought to light when PA speaker Ahmed Fathi Sorour presented a report to the Prosecutor General regarding a number of MPs who had violated the program.