By Safaa Abdoun
CAIRO: Accusations of government corruption by an MP Thursday triggered a walkout by ministers who left the PA session in objection.
Commenting on the government’s annual report, MP Ashraf Badreldin alleged that ministers pocket money from special funds.
“There are no measures to combat corruption in the management of special funds,” said the FJP MP who is also a member of the planning and budget committee. “I have documents which show the amounts ministers take out of these funds monthly.”
Outraged, the Minister of Education challenged Badreldin, saying that he will resign if these allegations are proven.
PA Speaker Saad El-Katatny examined the document presented by Badreldin, which he said lacked any names, and called on the MP to apologize.
On his part, head of FJP’s parliamentary bloc Hussein Ibrahim, objected to what Badreldin did.
“We object to allegations without proof. The MP pointed at the ministers and we object to this behavior.”
Badreldin apologized and when the ministers returned, El-Katatny adjourned the session until April 8.
The discussion was dedicated to the PA’s special committee’s report on the government’s first annual report presented by PM Kamal El-Ganzoury Feb. 26.
El-Ganzoury reiterated to parliament previous statements about Egypt’s worsening economic conditions and how Western and Arab countries have not honored their promises of loans and aid, hinting at a global conspiracy against Egypt as many countries placed obstacles to Egyptian exports, while international banks were urged not to transfer foreign currency to their branches in Egypt.
PA deputy Ashraf Sabet, head of the special committee, slammed the government’s report, saying that all 19 committees disapproved of its lack of vision and failure to propose urgent solutions to the ongoing crises of security and the shortage of cooking gas and bread.
The report also failed to address chronic economic problems like unemployment, the civil employment law, the budget deficit and tourism, as well as the failure to take serious steps to repatriate Egypt’s stolen assets from abroad.
“The projects proposed are empty headlines, not suitable for the transitional period,” said Sabet.
The FJP, which is the largest bloc in the PA, also expressed its disapproval of the report.
“This is just all talk about thoughts and wishes that do not coincide with the reality of the transitional period. The government has no program and doesn’t have anything to present,” said Ibrahim in his statement.
The Egyptian Social Democratic Party also rejected the report.
“We need urgent measures not long term plans,” said Ziad Bahaa Eldin, who also questioned the existence of a government that lacks authority. “We need clarification on who is ruling the country in this period.”
The Free Egyptians Party also dismissed the report’s lack of vision and failure to meet the revolution’s demands.
“We demand the martyr’s rights, the trial of ousted regime figures and an end to military trials,” said Bassel Adel.
However, while Al-Wafd MP Mahmoud Al-Saqqa criticized the report, he jumped in to defend El-Ganzoury.
“[He] did not seek the premiership; he is carrying the burden of 30 years of collapse,” he said.
Al-Saqqa went on to explain that El-Ganzouri did not fail regarding the Port Said massacre which is now in the hands of the judiciary, adding that security has noticeably increased.
“The people don’t feel that they have a government and so channel their anger to the PA. We have been carrying the responsibilities of the non-existent government,” he said.
The PA also approved the Minister of Justice’s request to lift legal immunity from MP Anwar El-Belkemy, who was dismissed from the Salafi Al-Nour Party after falsely claiming to have been attacked, when in reality, he was having a nose job.