Mubarak-era PM acquitted of graft charges

An Egyptian court acquitted former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif of corruption charges on Wednesday, overturning a guilty verdict and a five-year prison sentence he was handed in July 2015.  

The verdict is final and cannot be appealed, the state-owned Middle East News Agency reported

Nazif, who served as Hosni Mubarak’s prime minister from 2004 until the 2011 revolution, is the latest in a string of officials to be cleared of corruption charges after receiving heavy sentences in the aftermath of the January 25 revolution. 

The first criminal charges filed against Nazif date back to December 2011, when the state’s Illicit Gains Authority referred Nazif, his wife Zeinab, and their sons Sherif and Khaled, to trial, after investigations linked them to the illegal accumulation of wealth — amounting to LE64 million — which was said to have been amassed from public funds. 

The Illicit Gains Authority alleged that Nazif exploited his position to accumulate illicit wealth, including receiving “gifts” from governmental institutions, and securing employment for his relatives

In 2012, Nazif was sentenced to three years in prison for graft, but he was released in 2013 pending a retrial.

In July 2015, Nazif lost his appeal. Cairo Criminal Court increased his sentence to five years in prison and a fine of LE53,353,130. The court also ordered the ex-prime minister to return LE48,610,000 to the state coffers.

In December 2015, Nazif was again granted a retrial, leading to Wednesday’s verdict.

Nazif was also acquitted in a separate case, in which he was accused of squandering public funds, along with former Interior Ministry Habib al-Adly and former Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali.

Since 2013, corruption sentences were overturned for Mubarak-era ministers, including former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and steel magnate Ahmed Ezz, as well as for Mubarak and his sons. Some of these officials still face sentences in other cases.

Others, such as Hussein Salem, have negotiated their freedom through reconciliation deals with the government.

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