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Egypt prosecutor refers four defendants to trial in health ministry bribery case

The Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo on 25 February 2015 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]
The Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo on 25 February 2015 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt Public Prosecutor, Hamada El-Sawy, ordered on Wednesday the referral of four defendants to criminal trial in the case known to the media as "the health ministry bribery case".

Local media outlets said the first defendant is accused of abusing power, demanding a EGP5 million bribe, accepting EGP600,000 from the owners of a private hospital in return for reversing a closure decision, and preparing a report that falsely denied evidence of violations at the hospital.

The two other defendants are accused of mediating the bribe, while a fourth defendant faces forgery accusations in the case.

The prosecutor said in a statement that a total of 13 witnesses reported the bribery attempt to the prosecution, including the two hospital owners, who cooperated with the prosecution.

According to the statement, the prosecution found evidence of the crime in the form of conversations on the defendants' phones.

Meanwhile, speculations are mounting about the fate of Health Minister Hala Zayed, who suffered a heart attack coinciding with the announcement of a major corruption case within the Ministry of Health, before completely disappearing from the public scene.

READ: Where is Egypt's Minister of Health?

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