CAIRO: Resigned Minister of Agriculture Salah Helal and other four others were taken into custody Monday pending investigations over accusations of requesting and taking bribes, stated the High State Security Prosecution in a statement Monday.
A few minutes after submitting his resignation to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab Monday noon, Helal was arrested in Tahrir Square, per a decision from the Administrative Control Authority.
He and other accused persons, Helal’s office director Mohey al-Din Mohamed Saeed, the alleged briber Ayman Mohamed Refaat Abdo al-Gamil, and the mediator Mohamed Mahmoud Foada, face charges of facilitating the sale of 2,500 acres in Wadi al-Natroun city in Delta’s Beheira Governorate the statement said.
The bribes include giving one of the accused a membership in the popular sports al-Ahly club for 140,000 EGP ($17,880), clothes for 230,000 EGP ($29,370); two mobiles for 11,000 EGP ($1,140), holding Iftar in Ramadan in a hotel for 14,500 EGP (around $ 1,851), giving pilgrimage visas to 14 relatives of the accused for 70,000 SAR ($18,663) each, and a housing unit in a resort at 6th of October city for 8.250 million EGP (about $2.2 million).
The prosecution also imposed media gag on the investigations. Media reports have said that new Cabinet reshuffle will be carried out soon.
Minister of Water Resource and Irrigation Houssam Moghazy was mandated to take on Helal’s duties in the ministry pending the appointment of a new Agriculture Minister.