Mubarak’s ex-chief of staff to stand office abuse trial

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Cairo : Egypt’s former presidential chief of staff Zakaria Azmi, once among the country’s most powerful officials, will go on trial on charges of abuse of office.

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Azmi – who has been Hosni Mubarak’s chief of staff for 22 years – was arrested shortly after the former president was ousted from power in February.

“The investigation established that material wealth owned by Zakaria Azmi does not match his legal profits. This fact shows that Azmi abused his position to illegally amass wealth,” the Elaph website cited a statement as saying.

Mubarak stepped down Feb 11 after 18 days of large-scale anti-government protests that broke out in Cairo and quickly spread throughout Egypt, leaving more than 350 people dead and about 5,500 injured.

Several former high-ranking officials of the Mubarak regime have already been sentenced to lengthy prison terms on charges of corruption, bribe-taking, embezzlements and abuse of office, including former finance minister Youssef Bourtros Ghali and former foreign trade and industry minister Rashid Muhammad Rashid.

In May, former interior minister Habib al-Adly was sentenced to 12 years in prison for embezzling state funds. He currently stands his second trial, on charges of ordering to shoot at demonstrators during the February uprising, and faces death penalty.