Cairo, new corruption scandal involving Justice official with huge treasure
by Loula Lahham

Jamal al-Din al-Laban, a Justice Ministry official, is arrested after large sums of cash in local and foreign currency as well as jewels and title deeds are found at his home. Irony and outrage prevail on the web with most users believing that "They are all corrupt."

Cairo (AsiaNews) – Egypt’s Administrative Control Authority, which is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations within state bodies, announced the arrest yesterday in Cairo of Jamal al-Din al-Laban, head or procurement department at the Egyptian Justice Ministry.

Large sums of money were found at his house. According to investigators, the cash comes from bribes he received from individual entrepreneurs to sign purchase contracts and supplies to the ministry.

Early reports indicate that 24 million Egyptian pounds (US$ 1.2 million) were seized, along with US$ 4 million, € 2 million and a million Saudi riyals (pictured).

Police also found jewels and title deeds to private homes, cars, farmland in Laban’s name or assigned to members of his family.

Pictures of the suitcases and cardboard boxes crammed with bundles of local and foreign cash quickly hit social medias, sparking comments ranging from the ironic to the indignant among millions of Egyptian internet users.

Such a scandal is that more disconcerting that the country is in a deep economic crisis and ordinary Egyptians have to cut back on family budgets after the Egyptian pound was sharply devalued against the US dollar.

On Facebook and Twitter, a sense of mistrust and suspicion towards the ruling classes prevails.

"What about the other leaders! What have they accumulated in their homes?" wrote one blogger. "Give us a bribe too," said another. For others, "In this country, they are all corrupt”. 

According to the 2016 report of Transparency International, Egypt ranks 88th most corrupt nation in the world out of 168 countries.