Only $3 billion Declared of the $39.5 billion in Gulf Aid to Sisi*
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi received more than $39.5 billion in aid from Gulf states, leaked recordings aired on Mekameleen satellite channel yesterday revealed.
The funds came following the July 2013 coup and were sent by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The total included $25 billion in cash and $14.5 billion worth of petrol. Saudi Arabia alone contributed $22.5 billion.
In the recording, Al-Sisi seems to be telling Abbas Kamil, his office manager: “The country is ours.” Kamil seemed very happy because of the billions that were flowing into the military in Egypt.
In the new leaked recording, Sisi asks Al-Kamil to press Khaled Al-Tuwaijri, the then head of the Saudi Royal Court, to pay them in cash rather than in material aid such as wheat or oil.
Mekameleen aired the leaked audio clip, recorded in Al-Sisi’s office, under the headline “Sisi robs the Gulf”. The channel called on the Egyptian president to travel immediately to Saudi Arabia to confess to the new Saudi monarch that he has been a thief.
Former member of the budget committee in the Egyptian parliament Ashraf Bader Eddin commented to the channel that the coup government only declared $3 billion in its budget donated by the Gulf states and about $6 billion in petrol aid. That leaves $30 billion unaccounted for. Last night, social media and political commentators were asking one question: Where did these billions go?
In the first segment of the recording, the conversation takes place between Al-Sisi’s office manager Brigadier Abbas Kamil, Assistant Chief of Staff Brigadier Ahmad Abdel Halim and former military spokesman Ahmad Ali. The three men discuss Saudi’s financial assistance, how to grab as much of it as possible and how to dispense of it.
Kamil says: “When you come to ask from Saudi Arabia don’t ask for change,” hinting that Al-Sisi should ask for large sums of money and not modest amounts.
The three discuss the Saudi medical aid provided to Egypt. Under Al-Sisi’s command, the army seized the aid. When Ahmad Ali asked if the aid was intended for the army or for Egypt, Kamil answered: “The army is Egypt.”
In the second segment of the recording, Kamil and Al-Sisi talk about businessmen in Egypt calling them “the kids” and saying that “he goes around collecting funds from them”. The two men were apparently discussing the significance and mechanism of fundraising.
In the third segment, Al-Sisi admits that he obtained $39 billion from the Gulf States.