The Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) severely criticised the dismissal of top auditor Hisham Geneina from his position as head of the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO), upon order of a presidential decree.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decision Monday evening stating Geneina’s term was terminated, effective immediately, despite his term being set to end by September. Geneina was officially blamed by National Security prosecution authorities for “making misleading statements that harm Egypt’s national interests”.
“The decision strikes us as it comes one day after Prime Minister Sherif Ismail made promises to the people to adopt counter-corruption strategies during his statement before the House of Representatives on Sunday,” ESDP commented in a press release on Wednesday.
Despite accusing the state of “having planned to sack Geneina for a long-time”, ESDP stated it was not defending the former CAO head as a person, but rather questioning the legal, constitutional and political grounds of his dismissal, expressing concern over “the executive authority’s fascist disregard of constitutional principles”.
Al-Sisi passed a decree entitling him to dismiss the heads of independent regulatory bodies back in July 2015 and, within the absence of an elected parliament, this has been met with scepticism from some public figures who think these policies were intended to pave the way for Geneina’s removal, given the controversy that surrounded his political views and his disputes with former justice minister Ahmed Al-Zind. Geneina had also been making claims about widespread corruption in different state institutions.
ESDP took note of possible political motives behind the dismissal decision, adding that the recently elected parliament should have had a say in such major decisions, carefully taking into account consideration and legal grounds.
“Most importantly, we are shocked that the entire state and its institutions including the parliament, completely disregarded corruption claims, whether by looking at incidents under prosecution investigations, or even cases reported by the CAO, even if the final announced numbers were incorrect,” ESDP concluded.
In December, Geneina came under fire for making press statements on the value of money lost due to state corruption, which he estimated to exceed EGP 600bn.
Al-Sisi responded by forming a committee to investigate the claims, which accused Geneina of misinterpreting the concept of “corruption”, and that the incidents of the report are based upon incidents that date back to the 1920s. It also accused him of having fabricated yearly financial reports and ignored court cases for corruption, which have been resolved by the judiciary.