Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Antiquities ministry denies any misappropriation of public funds using artefacts

Ahram Online (Nevine El-Aref)

On Sunday, the Public Funds Prosecution investigated accusations made by archaeologist Nour Abdel Samad that former First Lady Suzanne Mubarak and Minister of State for Antiquities Zahi Hawass abused their official government positions and misappropriated public funds in the form of national artefacts.

Hawass had said during a talk show that a Tutankhamun exhibition collected $17 million in donations for Suzanne Mubarak’s charity fund which Abdel Samad said was illegal as the charity is privately owned.

The archaeologist also accused Hawass of illegally signing a contract with the National Geographical Society to exhibit unique Egyptian artefacts in the United States and Australia.

The accusation points to the contract which allowed artefacts from the Tutankhamun collection to be sent to Minnesota on an exhibition in which runs until 15 April 2012 without documenting the number or types of the pieces. It also said that the Egyptian Museum sent 143 artefacts to Washington between 30 July and 14 October 2002 which have not yet been returned.

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