The Cairo Criminal Court acquitted Tuesday Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Nazif and former minister of interior Habib Al-Adly of all charges in the case publicly known as the “licence plates” case.
The defendants were charged with “squandering public funds and profiteering”. The two stood accused of making an illegal deal with German company UTSCH, to sell licence plates for higher than market value, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram. The deal, which prosecutors say lost EGP 92m in public funds, violated the tenders and auction law.
“General Habib Al-Adly will be released on 12 March,” the former interior minister’s lawyer told Daily News Egypt.
Mohamed Al-Gendy also said Al-Adly will be released after procedures are completed through the prosecution.
He explained: “He was acquitted in the licence plates, profiteering, money laundering and killing protesters cases, and he also served his sentence in the forced labour case and there is nothing further that allows continuing his jailing.”
The court said Tuesdaythat there was no evidence on charges attributed to the defendants. It added that Article 8 of the tenders and auction law 89/1998 allows the prime minister to authorise a certain body to conduct deals in several ways, according to regulations the prime minister sets, Al-Ahram reported.
“Estimation of cases of need is within the prime minister’s decision, but in this he subordinates to the judiciary’s supervision,” the court explained.
The court also said that Al-Adly was “ignorant of financial law regulations” and thus there was no intention for committing the crime of “levying”.
In July 2011, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Al-Adly to five years in prison. Nazif was given a one-year suspended sentence, and former minister of finance Youssef Boutros-Ghali was given 10 years in absentia. All the sentences included labour, and all were fined EGP 92m in total, in addition to refunding the government EGP 92m. The Cairo Court of Cassation challenged and denied the verdict and ordered the defendants be retried.
Al-Adly was acquitted in June during a retrial on money laundering and graft charges. He was accused of using his position to make EGP 5m, after he was initially sentenced to 12 years in 2011.
The former interior minister and four aides were acquitted in November of charges of killing protesters in the 25 January Revolution.
In February 2014, the Court of Cassation handed Al-Adly a three-year prison sentence in a forced labour trial dubbed by media as “the conscripts’ enslavement case”.