CAIRO (AFP) – An Egyptian court acquitted a former prime minister and an ex-interior minister of corruption charges in a retrial Tuesday, the latest reversal of verdicts against officials who served under strongman Hosni Mubarak.
Ex-premier Ahmed Nazif and former interior minister Habib al-Adly were sentenced to jail after Mubarak’s 2011 overthrow for a deal to import licence plates from German company Utsch at an exorbitant price.
An appeals court overturned the suspended sentence for Nazif and the five-year prison term for Adly, and ordered the retrial.
A representative of Utsch and a former finance minister under Mubarak were also sentenced in the first trial but were not included in the appeal because they were tried in their absence.
Several Mubarak-era officials, including the ousted strongman himself, have been acquitted in retrials on charges of corruption and involvement in the murder of anti-Mubarak protesters.
Meanwhile some protest leaders who spearheaded the 18-day revolt against Mubarak have been jailed on charges of illegal protest over the past year.
Adly was cleared of murder charges in a separate retrial with Mubarak in November that also saw charges against the former president dropped. They had initially been sentenced to life in prison.
A lawyer for Adly told AFP that the former interior minister faced one remaining trial which is expected to reach a verdict next month.
He has served his three-year sentence from another corruption trial, the lawyer Essam al-Batawy said.
Critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi say Mubarak-era officials are making a comeback under his watch, an allegation the president has denied.
Sisi, the former army chief, won an election in May 2014, almost a year after toppling president Mohamed Mursi amid massive protests demanding the Islamist leader’s resignation. The government has since unleashed a deadly crackdown on Mursi supporters and some secular dissidents.