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Mekameleen: Funds missing from Central Bank of Egypt

Below is the translation of a video clip from Mekameleen TV Channel posted on Youtube on 12 February 2015:

Osama Gaweesh: Mr Ashraf, talking to Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, Abbas Kamel said that our cash reserve, do you know how much? All that is inside the Central Bank is two billion. This was in January 2014. Here, I need to ask you about the increase or decrease in the cash reserve since 3 July 2013, that is since Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi seized control of the country in a military coup and was the official ruler of the country until this conversation was recorded on 26 January 2014.

Ashraf Badr Al-Din: This is the monthly report of the General Commission for Investment and Free Zones.  It says that that the international reserves – and here it refers to the Central Bank of Egypt, and these columns here represent the cash reserve month by month from 1 January 2011 until today. On the first of July 2013, that is on the eve of the military coup, the cash reserve was – and I highlight it here – $18.9 billion.

Osama Gaweesh: Let me confirm the figure once more. When Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi took over, when Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi removed Dr Mohamed Morsi from the presidency of the country, the cash reserve inside the Central Bank – according to this report – was $18.9 billion.

Ashraf Badr Al-Din: On 1 July 2012, when President Morsi (became president, the reserve) was $14.4 billion. When (he left the reserve was) $18.9 billion (bearing in mind that) he received none of that (funding that was pumped in after he left). Today, the serve at the end of this last December was, according the Central Bank’s report, $15.3 billion. Why? Because as he said in the previous leaked recording it’s “a little change coming into the Central Bank”. All these billions, hundreds of billions, did not come into the coffers of the state. Here is the report of the Finance Ministry about the results of the national budget for the (fiscal) year 2013/2014, which is the first year of the coup. The report quotes the Minister of Finance, Hany Kadry Dimian literally: The gross revenue from grants in the fiscal year 2013/2014 is around 96 billion [Egyptian] pounds [$12.6 billion]. These are represented by cash grants amounting to about 21 billion pounds [$2.7 billion], and in brackets they insert (the figure of) $3 billion. So, the 30 or more billion dollars that came in cash to Egypt from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates did not reach the Finance Ministry except for the $3 billion. And the rest as accounted for as what? (It says here) $3 billion from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, without mentioning Kuwait, and about 53 billion [Egyptian] pounds [$7 billion] in grants in the form of petroleum substances. Now, what you have done is that you accounted for the in-kind grants, which were in the form of petroleum substances.

Osama Gaweesh: Is this in reference to when he described the petroleum minister as a “lost misguided kid”?

Ashraf Badr Al-Din: No, this (report) is from the Minister of Finance.

Osama Gaweesh: So, this is something else, then.

Ashraf Badr Al-Din: Sharif Ismail, the minister of petroleum [was described as] the lost misguided kid. I am not sure whether the minister of petroleum will stay in office after what he heard (being said about him). Or probably they are all just like that. Yet, Dr Osama that is not all the money. Today we are only discovering this. We have had American military assistance of $1.3 billion since 1978, that is for the past 37 years, coming now to a total of more than $50 billion. This has never been accounted for at any time in the state’s general budget. The Egyptian people don’t know where this has gone, or what was procured with it… and we discovered from the last leaked recording that the army has bank accounts outside Egypt. That is, a minimum of $27 billion in aid, paid in cash, we don’t know where they have gone. This was stolen by the military; it went into their personal accounts. At the same time, have a look at the government. During the fiscal year 2013/2014, that is the same year, they borrowed 814 billion [Egyptian] pounds ($106.7 billion) in the form of treasury bonds.

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