A judge investigating charges that former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq squandered public funds will call the head of the Agrarian Reform authority Zakaria Helal as part of the investigation into Shafiq’s allocation of state owned plots of land to the two sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
Judge Osama al-Saidi has been investigating charges since 12 July that Shafiq sold plots of land in the Bitter Lakes district in Ismailia to Alaa and Gamal Mubarak for less than the market value during his tenure as head of the Cooperative Housing Association for Military Pilots in 1993.
Saidi has also been tasked with investigating allegations that Hosni Mubarak and former Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Youssef Wali seized 119 acres of land owned by the General Authority for Fish Resources Development and allocated it to the pilots association.
There have been conflicting reports about the land’s original ownership; some say it belonged to the ministry while others say it belonged to the Suez Canal Authority.
Most recently, Saidi heard the testimony of Mohamed Fathy Osman, head of the General Authority for Fish Resources Development, who supported claims that the land was seized and given to the pilots association.
Investigations revealed that Mubarak had issued two contradicting presidential decrees to identify the entity entrusted with the Bitter Lakes district.
In 1983, he issued a decree charging the General Authority for Fish Resources Development with overseeing water territories, including the Bitter Lakes district. However, Mubarak issued another decree in 1991 excluding the district from the authority’s supervision.
Edited translation from MENATags: Bitter Lakes district, Hosni Mubarak, Gamal Mubarak, Bitter Lakes, Agrarian Reform authority Zakaria Helal, Judge Osama al-Saidi