Opinion » Columnists

Corruption in Egypt

The United States offers Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a huge amount of economic and financial aid each year.

All this aid is to save the Egyptian regime and to avoid its complete economic collapse. There are many reasons for this collapse, but I believe that the most important reason is the corruption in high places. Corruption in Egypt has reached unprecedented heights under the government of Mubarak
in the name of privatization and the change to a market economy.

The government has sold the great part of the public sector companies for less than a quarter of their value to businessmen working for Mubarak's sons, or to foreign companies in return for huge commissions for Mubarak and
his sons or other top officials.

To get a high position in the Interior Ministry or Intelligence it is necessary to be involved in corruption, and being condemned by courts for corruption is an asset. Through corruption, Mubarak secures the loyalty of the heads of the security departments, making sure they will execute his policies and oppress his political adversaries.

Mubarak has encouraged the Interior Ministry and the Intelligence to loot public money through forming companies that offer construction services and, contrary to the law, are given deals by the state for huge sums, in some cases 20 times the amount offered to other companies. These funds are
distributed among the top people at the ministry and in intelligence agencies.

The Mubarak era will be known in the history of Egypt as the era of thieves.

I condemn financial aid for the Mubarak regime, but if the United States and Europe insist - for selfish political reasons - to support this corrupt regime, then at least they should provide financial aid on condition that the regime accept international procedures to secure democracy, human rights
and anti-corruption measures.

Such procedures should include forming an international committee to evaluate the fortune amassed by Mubarak, his sons and the heads of his regime, an international committee to supervise the elections, and a committee to promote human rights.

The absence of a connection between aid and these procedures means that American and European taxpayers are accomplices in the crimes of murder and torture committed by the Mubarak regime.

We implore you not to participate in the killing and torture of our people.

Colonel Muhammad Al Ghanam
Former director of legal research
Egyptian Interior Ministry
Geneva, Switzerland

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