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Egypt: health minister exonerated in bribery case

Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed gives a press conference, in a tent set up outside the Abou Khalifa hospital, in Ismailia, about 120kms east the capital Cairo, on January 24, 2021 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed in Cairo, Egypt on 24 January 2021 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]

Investigations by the Egyptian authorities have exonerated the country's health minister, Hala Zayed, in a bribery case involving senior ministry officials, local media reported yesterday.

The minister's ex-husband, Mohamed Abdel Mageed Al-Ashhab, was found guilty in the case along with three others. Zayed condemned him for exploiting her position and using his influence within the ministry to obtain an operating licence for a hospital that was shut by the ministry for "violations". He is said to have paid five million Egyptian pounds ($3.1 million) in return.

Details of the case have gone viral on social media, coinciding with the minister's announcement in October that she was going on sick leave. Since then, Zayed disappeared without any official disclosure of her condition, her relationship to the corruption case, or when she would return to work.

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