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Egypt ex-minister jailed for corruption

BBC News BBC News 11/04/2016
Selah Eddin Helal © AFP Selah Eddin Helal

A court in Egypt has sentenced a former agriculture minister and his office manager to 10 years in prison after finding them guilty of corruption.

Salah Eddin Helal was also fined $110,000 (£80,000), while his chief-of-staff Muhyidin Said's fine was $55,000.

Helal resigned in September, when he was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes in return for land licences.

Prosecutors said the bribes included a luxury home, membership of an exclusive sports club, and high-end clothing.

The businessman who paid the bribe and another who facilitated it were spared jail because they confessed, a judicial official told the AFP news agency.

The corruption scandal prompted the resignation of Ibrahim Mehleb's government, and Mr Mehleb's subsequent replacement by Ismail Sharif.

Egypt was ranked 88th out of 168 countries on Transparency International's 2015 corruption perceptions index.

The country's 2011 uprising was partially driven by widespread anger at corruption under long-time President Hosni Mubarak.

In May 2015, Mubarak and his two sons were found guilty at a retrial of embezzlement and sentenced to three and four years in prison respectively.

Two months later, a former prime minister under Mubarak, Ahmed Nazif, was sentenced to five years after being convicted of corruption charges at a retrial.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who led the military's overthrow of Mubarak's democratically-elected successor Mohammed Morsi in 2013, has promised to make the fight against corruption a focus of his administration.

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