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Government and Security Sector Accountability

Selling Electricity Case

Court / Presiding Judge

Alexandria Criminal Court/Judge Gamal Gomaa

Procedural History

In September 2014, the court issued its verdict in the case.

Verdict

Businessman Hussein Salem and his son and daughter were sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison. Four other officials at the Alexandria Petroleum Company were sentenced to seven years in prison, and six individuals received one-year suspended sentences and a fine of LE11 million as well as a repayment of LE125,000 to the state.

Summary of Reasoning

The court sentenced the defendants on charges of selling electricity to bodies other than the Egyptian Electricity Authority, causing willful damage to their employers, and violating the law that prohibits Egyptian and foreign investors from selling electricity to bodies other than the Egyptian Electricity Authority.

Anecdotal Notes

Although the charges in this case are significant, the Egyptian government reached a reconciliation deal with Hussein Salem in August 2016 in which he reportedly paid LE5.8 billion, which he claimed to be 78 percent of his assets, to avoid prosecution upon his return to Egypt. He had been residing in Spain.

Legal & Judicial Implications

While the court issued both a prison and fine sentence to the Salem family and affiliates, there is fear that the reconciliation deal sends an implicit message that the judiciary’s corruption sentences can be sidestepped in exchange for payment, thus contributing to a culture of impunity for government officials implicated in corruption cases and creating an environment in which individuals with access to wealth can avoid prison sentences. Further, on October 19, 2016, Mada Masr published a list of assets owned by Salem that were not included in the calculations of his agreement, raising questions on the accuracy of the agreement and its ability to dole out justice.