A spokesman from Vodafone Egypt confirmed to Daily News Egypt that the corporation’s marketing head and legal administration representative faced investigation by the public prosecution on Wednesday over an advertisement.
The spokesman denied that the complaint filed by little known rap singer, Ahmed Spider, against Vodafone was referred to the Supreme State Security Prosecution. He also denied that any official charges were pressed against the multinational corporation.
Vodafone, one of Egypt’s three mobile service providers, was investigated for allegedly delivering coded signals about potential bombing attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood group in a recent advertisement it released on YouTube, featuring a well-known puppet character called Abla Fahita.
“The prosecution merely inquired about the allegations made by Spider regarding hidden messages in the advertisement,” the spokesman said.
According to the spokesman, the multinational corporation does not plan to take legal action against the plaintiff, adding, “It’s not worth it”.
Spider, the pro-Hosni Mubarak and pro-army singer, had claimed to private-owned satellite channel Al-Tahrir on Tuesday that the advertisement implies that the Muslim Brotherhood will bomb a large mall during the Coptic Christmas week. The advertisement features popular puppet Abla Fahita and her daughter, who are both looking for the SIM card of the former’s dead husband to make use of a new offer provided by Vodafone. Abla Fahita says in the advertisement that she has hired a sniffer dog from a mall to look for the lost SIM card.
Spider had told Al-Tahrir that the cactus tree shown in the advertisement is a code for the “Rabaa sign”, used by pro-Mohamed Morsi protesters in reference to the violent dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in which left at least 600 protesters dead. The cactus has four branches, which Spider equated to the “Rabaa sign’s” four fingers, and Christmas baubles dangling from it, the latter interpreted by Spider to signal bombs.
“This advertisement means that the Muslim Brotherhood will detonate a shopping mall during the week of Coptic Christmas,” Spider claimed. “The bomb will go undetected by the sniffer dog as his guardian would be bribed to allow the bomb inside the mall.”
Spider claimed he was able to identify the mall in question, yet added that he preferred not to disclose its name “in order not to terrify the people.”
The Vodafone spokesman described the advertisement as “one of some 6000 advertisements Vodafone has produced before”, denying that it includes any hidden messages.
“The advertisement makes public a special offer provided by Vodafone,” he said. “That’s what we mean by it; nothing more and nothing less.”
The investigation garnered wide satirical comments in Egypt. Spider is known for being hosted by notorious TV show host Tawfiq Okasha. Both, adamant supporters of Mubarak and the armed forces, repeatedly accused political activists who took part in the 2011 uprising of being Freemasons.
The Muslim Brotherhood was listed as a terrorist organisation by interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi’s cabinet last week. The decision comes in the wake of an explosion that occurred in the Al-Daqahleya security directorate, resulting in the death of 16 people and the injury of more than 100.
The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the attack and denied any affiliation with the perpetrators. Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim nevertheless claimed on Thursday that the ministry’s investigation revealed that the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis jihadist group in coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood carried out the attack.