Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Excited revolutionaries to return to Tahrir with 'Day of Dignity' Friday

Political groups and parties call for a demonstration on Friday to demand immediate transfer to civil rule, a year on from the 28 January, 2011 police attacks on anti-Mubarak protesters.

Egyptians march during a demonstration toward Tahrir Square marking the first anniversary of the popular uprising that unseated President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. (Photo: AP)
Following the success of the January 25 anniversary mass protests on Wednesday, almost 60 political groups and parties have announced their participation in Friday, 27 January protest called Friday of Dignity or Second Friday of Rage. The main demands, the groups say, are the end to the military rule and the immediate handover of power to a civilian government.

Political groups calling for the protests include the April 6 Movement, Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Wa’i (“Awareness”) Party, the Popular Movement for the Independence of Al-Azhar, the Justice and Freedom youth movement, the Free Front for Peaceful Change, the Participation Movement and the Maspero Protesters Movement, among others.

April 6 Youth Movement and National Front for Justice and Democracy have also stated that they will stay after the Friday’s demonstrations and stage an open-ended sit-in in Tahrir Square.

Following Wednesday’s festivities, which saw hundreds of thousands in the streets, tens of people decided to remain on Tahrir until the expected demonstrations at the weekend. Groups from the Muslim Brotherhood, who initially said they would leave the square at 4pm, also stayed overnight.

“We are staying here to take care of our stage in preparation for Friday,” a member of Muslim Brotherhood told an Ahram Online correspondent in the early hours of Thursday morning. The Islamist group led the festivities on the square yesterday, despite publically distancing itself from anti-SCAF sit-ins in July, November and December.

A smaller sit-in was also formed on Wednesday night in front of Maspero, the state-owned television and radio headquarters. Protesters marched to the television building in the afternoon calling for the purification of state media, which they believe, has been spreading lies since the revolution began.

This Friday will mark the anniversary of the Friday of Rage: one of the most significant dates of the ongoing revolution. 28 January, 2011 was the first instance that the Egyptian military attacked protesters resulting in 20 deaths. The police, who traditionally dealt with demonstrations, had vacated the streets and many prisons were left open. In the ensuing security vacuum the former president Hosni Mubarak ordered the military to take control.

Source : Ahram Online
Ekram Ibrahim , Thursday 26 Jan 2012

Mubarak sons, EFG CEOs face new trial for stock market corruption

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak will stand trial with co-CEOS of EFG-Hermes and five others on charges of profiteering, says state TV.

The sons of Egypt's deposed president and the two chief executives of investment bank EFG-Hermes are to stand trial alongside five others for corrupt stock exchange dealings, state television said on Wednesday.

Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, already standing trial for graft with their father, are being charged with EFG-Hermes joint chiefs, Hassan Heikal and Yasser El-Mallawany.

Five other business figures were also referred to Cairo's criminal court on the same charges of illicit profiteering related to the sale of El-Watany Bank of Egypt (AWB).

According to state news agency MENA, the following five will stand trial with the Mubaraks and the two EFG-Hermes representatives:

  • Amr El-Kady, EFG-Hermes ex-CEO
  • Ayman Fathy Soliman
  • Ahmed Fathy Soliman
  • Ahmed Naeim Badr
  • Hussein El-Sherbini

A spokesman for Egypt's prosecutor-general told MENA that the accused face charges of accumulating LE2.51 billion in illicit profits by violating capital market laws and taking control of a majority stake in AWB through investment and private equity funds that they controlled.

Judge Adel El-Saeed said the accusations include a claim that the accused made use of private equity funds based in Cyprus and the British Channel Islands to trade on AWB shares and realise large profits.

He claimed that the accused had deliberately hid their identities and other essential information, damaging the principles of equal opportunity and transparency of information.

El-Saeed said the accused may have managed to take control of a 80 per cent stake in the bank, giving them control over its management.

In 2006, they hired two investment firms with with they had affiliations to value and sell AWB at a significantly higher price.

In 2007, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) -- one of the Middle East's major banks -- acquired AWB and started re-branding and restructuring the bank.

On Wednesday, EFG-Hermes issued a statement detailing the extent of the former president’s family holdings in the company. It said Gamal Mubarak held only 18 per cent of EFG-Hermes’s Private Equity, which he acquired in 1997.

The statement effectively denied all charges against its executives, adding that "neither EFG-Hermes nor any of the investment funds it manages in Egypt or abroad have directly or indirectly received any special privileges or consideration from the Government of Egypt."

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak will hear the verdict for their first graft trial on Saturday 2 June.

Abul-Fotouh to launch campaign against ex-regime figures

The moderate Islamist presidential contender announces Wednesday new Egypt-wide campaign to raise awareness about Mubarak-era figures in a bid to purge country of remnants of the former regime.

Former presidential hopeful Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh has launched an awareness campaign to help purge the country of former Mubarak regime members on Wednesday.

"We don’t want the feelings of enthusiasm and energy that we had while we were working on our presidential campaign to subside," Abul-Fotouh said in his Wednesday statement, "That is why we have to begin working on our national project and to parallel that with an awareness drive in all governorates against the remnants of the old regime and all its symbols."

Abul-Fotouh has yet to outline the details of the project but stated that it will cover all of Egypt’s governorates and will cooperate with other political forces.

Moderate Islamist Abul-Fotouh dropped out of the presidential race when he came in fourth place during the first round of the presidential elections on 23-24 May.

On Sunday, Abul-Fotouh said that official results of last week's first-round presidential vote should be postponed until Egypt's Constitutional Court issues a final decision on a Disenfranchisement Law barring members of the former regime from assuming public office. This would directly affect presidential runoff candidate Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minster.

His demand was made after the initial results indicated he had finished fourth in the race. Egypt's Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC), however, officially announced the results the next day.

The second round of the race will take place on 16-17 June, where Mubarak era minister Shafiq will compete with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi.

Source : Ahram Online

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