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Egypt tackles embezzlement

Egypt’s judiciary will consider a new reform to allow for amicable settlement between the government and those accused of embezzlement, bringing in recovered funds but also possibly legalizing corruption.
An employee counts money at an exchange office in downtown Cairo June 5, 2014. Egypt's currency black market is under threat from two directions, as aid from wealthy Gulf states promises to ease a dollar shortage and an increasingly confident central bank engineers a gradual depreciation of the Egyptian pound. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh  (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR3SDW1
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The Cabinet’s amendment of Law No. 62 of 1975 on Illicit Earnings, which is to be submitted to the legislative reform committee for approval, has stirred debate across Egypt. The amendment allows for amicable settlement between the government and the public figures who embezzled public funds. Some see this law as an attempt to recover the embezzled money and introduce a hard currency, which the country’s declining economy needs. Others consider the law a legalization of corruption and a loss to state authority.

Maj. Gen. Mohamed Saad, former head of the Public Funds Investigation Department, told Al-Monitor, “Article 25 is one the most important aspects of this new law, as it allows for amicable settlement. The article states that the accused, who is under the [jurisdiction of the] Illicit Gains Authority, can at any moment reach a settlement with this authority by returning the illicitly gained funds. As a result of the settlement, investigations are stopped and the penal proceedings for the accused are halted, but he is obliged to pay the expenses of the lawsuit and the judges’ fees.”

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