Interview: Uncovering Egypt’s slush funds

Business Today Egypt | August 2015 edition -- pp. 34-39
Business Today Egypt interviewed Jeremy Hodge and Nizar Manek, co-authors of ‘Opening the black box of Egypt’s slush funds,’ a much-discussed Angaza File investigation for Africa Confidential, a specialist newsletter on Africa published since 1960.
Manek and Hodge spent around a year investigating Egypt’s extra-budgetary ‘special funds,’ finding that at least USD 9.4 billion of state revenues were plundered and used to make unaccountable payments to Egypt’s bureaucrats in the fiscal year that ended when Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi became president and can be used to fuel regime patronage networks. Their inquiries shed light on the systematic abuse of special funds, the individual actors implicated in various misappropriations along the way, and how foreign companies, investors’ funds, and financial aid flowing into Egypt from international donors entangled in the web of special funds.

Manek and Hodge's report considers the debit and credit activity -- inflows and outflows -- of Egypt’s special funds. The journalists said in an interview with Business Today Egypt that alarming discrepancies exist between the figures put forth in the financial records they were able to review and public statements made by Egypt’s Ministry of Finance, Central Bank, Central Auditing Organization (CAO), previous parliaments, and other senior government officials over the total size of Egypt’s ‘special funds.’ The pair, who were forced to flee Egypt shortly after they began their investigations, told us they corroborated the figures in the official records they reviewed and cross-checked facts by talking with people close to the relevant ministries, regulators and people in the bureaucracy with insider knowledge.
(2,800 words)
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