By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: The Illicit Gains Authority (IGA) summoned Monday veteran journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal to question him regarding a press interview in which he claimed that ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s fortune was worth $9-11 billion based on documents in his possession.
Heikal told investigators that he got his information from international reports and periodicals and that he isn’t responsible for the headline used in Al-Ahram daily for the interview and employing the phrase “certified documents” to refer to his sources, according to IGA head Essam El-Gohary.
Finding the truth is the responsibility of the authorities, Heikal reportedly added.
“The interview wasn’t about Mubarak’s fortune but my statements were a response to exaggerations in estimates by local newspapers that get their information from foreign newspapers,” Heikal reportedly said during interrogations.
The IGA said in a statement that Heikal was summoned to give information on how he reached these numbers, especially that their investigations didn’t confirm them.
In a statement El-Gohary urged the media not to publish undocumented numbers.
“[This] causes the public to believe delusions as if they are facts, which leaves society in doubt and allows chaos to prevail,” he said.
For investigations to achieve their target there must be “strong” evidence based on legal documents, he added.
Mubarak’s lawyer, Fareed Al-Deeb, was at the authority’s headquarters at the Ministry of Justice on Monday but officials there refused to disclose the reasons for his visit.
The authority renewed for 15 days the detention of Ihab Nasef, brother in law of late minister of state for legal affairs and parliamentary councils Kamal El-Shazly.
Nasef, the manager of the production department in Egypt Gas Company, is accused of participating in covering up El-Shazly’s massive fortune.
Meanwhile, ex-minister of social solidarity, Ali Meselhy, was interrogated Monday by Councilor Ahmed Idris in the case of squandering state land.
On the same day, a number of eyewitnesses interrogated by Councilor Mahmoud Al-Sabrout denied the involvement of former Al-Ghad Party MP Ragab Hemeida in attacks on protestors in Tahrir Square on Feb. 2, usually referred to as “The Battle of the Camel”.
Hemeida was remanded in custody for 15 days pending investigations into his involvement in the events that left hundreds injured and a dozen killed.
The family of Mahmoud Al-Sonni, a low-ranking policeman who was sentenced to death in absentia on Sunday for killing 18 protesters, held a protest in front of the Ministry of Justice against what they referred to as an “unfair and quick” ruling.
They said that Al-Sonni was defending the police station and preventing thugs from stealing weapons and that the verdict was issued in one session which is unusual.
They called for his protection and a reopening of the investigation.