AP NEWS

Egypt upholds sentence of top customs official on corruption

February 23, 2020 GMT

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s top appeals court on Sunday upheld a 10-year jail term for the head of the country’s customs authority who was convicted of corruption.

Egypt’s highest anti-graft agency, the Administrative Control Authority, arrested Abdel-Azim in June 2018, while taking bribes from an unnamed businessman.

Abdel-Azim is one of a few senior government officials detained over corruption allegations in recent years.

Abdel-Azim was referred to trail and the criminal court in the Mediterranean province of Port Said in April last year, where he was sentenced him to 10 years in prison after his conviction for profiteering and squandering public funds. The court also fined him more 750,000 Egyptian pounds (more than $48,000). Abdel-Azim then appealed his case before the Court of Cassation which upheld the verdict on Sunday.

Authorities also arrested the governor of the Nile Delta province of Menoufia in 2018. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for accepting bribes to award public works contracts.

The deputy governor of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria was also arrested in 2017, and sentenced last year to 12 years in prison for bribery, profiteering and squandering public funds.

Egyptians have long complained about high-level corruption, one of the central grievances of the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The corruption watchdog Transparency International ranked Egypt 106 of 180 countries in its worldwide index in 2019.