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Egypt sacks government auditor who leveled major corruption claims

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has fired Egypt's top auditor following critical statements saying corruption had cost the country billions. Transparency International ranks Egypt 94 out of 175 in combatting corruption.

Egypt's state-run MENA news agency said Monday that President el-Sissi had dismissed Hesham Genena, head of the Central Auditing Organization.

Genena ran into controversy in December after he was quoted by the newspaper Youm 7 as saying corruption had siphoned off $67.6 billion (60.4 billion euros) in 2015.

He later clarified that that figure covered four years and was arrived at following an exhaustive study.

El-Sissi appointed a presidential commission that quickly concluded that Genena had misled the public. The presidency did not spell out in a decree why Genena was dismissed, but the move came hours after the State Security Prosecution said his findings were inaccurate.

Egypt plagued by widespread corruption

Ägypten Hesham Genena

A presidential commission accused auditor Hesham Genena of misleading the public with support from unnamed "foreign" parties

His removal is likely to raise questions about Egypt's commitment to fighting graft as it struggles to rebuild an economy hammered by years of political turmoil following a

2011 popular uprising that toppled the autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.

El-Sissi, who as army chief removed Egypt's first freely-elected president in 2013, has said

fighting corruption is a top priority for the government.

Egypt's pro-government media accused Genena of being an Islamist because he was appointed by President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was jailed following el-Sissi's successful putsch.

El-Sissi's popularity is waning as unemployment and rising prices continue to affect Egypt's economy.

jar/gsw (Reuters, AP)

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