Two renowned MPs said they demanded the review of corruption reports issued by regulatory bodies, including reports from the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO), of which former head Hisham Geneina was sacked last week.
MP Mohamed Anwar Sadat addressed Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Magdy Al-Agaty in an urgent statement on Sunday, in which he criticised the non-availability of corruption reports to parliamentary members.
Sadat demanded that the parliament review reports issued within its absence, meaning in the past three years. Moreover, MP Haitham El-Hariri addressed Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdul Aal on Monday with an urgent demand to view the corruption reports regarding state institutions, as a major step in countering corruption.
The MPs referred to Article 217 of the Constitution, addressing autonomous organisations and control agencies. The article stipulated that those control organisations and agencies shall submit annual reports to the president, the House of Representatives and the prime minister, immediately after their issuance.
Thereby, the House of Representatives shall examine such reports and take the appropriate action within a period not exceeding four months from the date of receipt. The constitution further stipulates that the reports be made available to the public.
The parliament has received corruption reports, including one submitted by Geneina and what was supposed to be a counter-report submitted by an independent committee formed by the presidency. Nevertheless, the parliament opted to postpone its own examination of the reports, and decided they would not interfere with prosecution investigations of Geneina.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi dismissed Geneina on 28 March, based on a statement issued by General Prosecution authorities, resulting in heated debates on state corruption in Egypt.
The decision came shortly after authorities accused Geneina of jeopardising national interests by reporting “incorrect figures” on corruption, as well as misusing his senior position to collect and keep important information and documents on corruption.
Despite the constitution entitling Al-Sisi to appoint the heads of such organisations and regulatory agencies, majority approval of the House of Representatives is required for a one-time renewable term of four years.
“They [heads of independent regulatory agencies] shall not be dismissed, except in cases stated in the law,” according to Article 216. In July 2015, Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree in the absence of an elected parliament, authorising himself to dismiss heads of regulatory bodies.
This followed a press statement made by Geneina, for which he later came under fire in a fierce media campaign, supported by dismissed minister of justice Ahmed Al-Zind. The former CAO head had stated that the value of money lost due to state corruption was EGP 600bn.
While the CAO is responsible for monitoring the funds of the state and the implementation of the state budget, as well as for auditing its final accounts, there have been concerns raised by anti-corruption advocates over the political attention given to Geneina as a person, at the expense of a real evaluation of corruption.
MP Sadat also asked Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and new Finance Minister Amr Al-Garhi about the delay of the final account of state budget for FY 2014/2015, which should not be delayed by more than six months from the end of the fiscal year, as per Article 125 of the constitution.
Reinforcing the role of the CAO, the same constitutional article added that the annual report and notes of the CAO on the final accounts shall be submitted therewith, while the parliament can ask the regulatory body for additional data.