Former prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb was appointed, Saturday, by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as the president’s aide for strategic and national projects, according to an Egyptian presidency spokesperson.
The spokesperson said that Al-Sisi met with Mehleb, and praised his efforts in aiding the construction of several mega national projects, both in the current period and the future. The spokesperson also described the projects as one of the aspects contributing to economic growth and development in different sectors.
Mehleb resigned last Saturday after several ministers in his government faced corruption allegations, which sparked rumours of a possible cabinet reshuffle. Last week, former agriculture minister Salah Helal was arrested on accusations of corruption levelled at ministry officials.
Mehleb was appointed as CEO and president of the Arab Contractors Company in 2001, having been appointed by former housing minister Ibrahim Soliman, who is also currently awaiting trial on corruption charges. He held this position for 11 years, retiring in September 2012.
Mehleb was also implicated in the Presidential Palaces case (which included former president Hosni Mubarak and his sons Gamal and Alaa), but had no charges brought against him. This was despite court papers originally alleging that he was involved in the graft scheme. The Arab Contractors Company received millions of Egyptian pounds in public money for the “upkeep” of Mubarak’s properties.
A former member of the now dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP), Mehleb was appointed to the Shura Council under Mubarak, and served on the NDP’s High Council for Policies, alongside Gamal Mubarak.
As former housing minister, Mehleb made some controversial decisions, including providing approval for the demolishment of old villas in Alexandria, seen by some as cultural landmarks. Similarly, he was criticised for failing as head of the Ministry of Housing to arrange for alternative accommodation in many cases of forced evictions.
Amnesty International condemned the February 2014 forced evictions of 1,200 families from informal settlements and called for “urgent action”. The international rights group’s report said that the government offered 400 families housing in apartments two days after the eviction, but not before being forced to sleep in the streets.
The aide’s position is considered honorary, and is usually granted to former politicians and ministers who were either dismissed or have resigned from their executive positions.
The most prominent figures to hold such positions are: political tycoon and former prime minister Kamal Al-Ganzoury; former interior minister Ahmed Gamal Al-Din; former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim; and politician Faiza Abu Al-Naga.