Senior Egyptian judge arrested in rare corruption probe

Senior Egyptian judge arrested in rare corruption probe
2 min read
01 January, 2017
A rare probe into alleged corruption in Egypt's judiciary has led to the arrest of a senior judge linked to an official found in possession of millions in cash.
Probes into alleged judicial corruption are rare in Egypt [AFP]

A senior judge was arrested by Egyptian authorities during a rare probe into corruption at one of the country's highest courts, judicial sources said.

According to the sources, Wael Shalabi, secretary general of the council of state, was arrested at dawn and interrogated by investigators.

Shalabi's arrest follows the administrative control authority, responsible for tracking corruption arrested Gamal el-Labban, the council's chief procurement officer.

The arrest of Labban came after a large amount of cash was discovered in his home, local media reported.

It is alleged that the procurement officer had 24 million Egyptian pounds [$1.3 million] in his possession, as well as four million dollars and two million euros.

Recorded calls allegedly made by Labban showed that Shalabi was "involved in many" parts of the ongoing probe, a prosecution official said. 

Shalabi submitted his resignation to the council of state following Labban's arrest. The resignation was accepted on Saturday.

On Sunday, a prosecution official said Shalabi may be implicated, as the procurement department at the state council needs his signature to finalise paperwork.

Prosecutors also said in a statement that it will investigate all procurement contracts reached over the past five years.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pledged tough economic reforms and a crackdown on corruption, yet many analysts believe graft has become a much bigger problem for Egypt under the former general's rule.

Last week, Sisi stressed that "no one is too big for accountability", and pledged to prosecute all offenders.

Many believe that the corruption probe is a smokescreen to allow the regime to arrest potential dissidents in high places.

Egypt currently ranks 88th out of 168 countries on the corruption perceptions index published by watchdog Transparency International.

Probes into alleged corruption in judicial institutions in the country are rare, highlihgting the significance of the current probe.

It is rare for Egypt to investigate alleged corruption inside its judicial institutions.