Al-Sisi continues squandering public money as revealed by whistleblower Mohamed Ali

This week some photos were published on the official page of the Republic Spokesperson, Ambassador Passam Radi, that were said to be taken during an inspection tour by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the historic Montaza area of Alexandria, where al-Sisi gave instructions to finish the area’s development project. This project is the one that the Egyptian contractor and actor Mohamed Ali, who is currently residing in Europe, revealed to be severely corrupted.

The presidential spokesperson indicated that al-Sisi expressed during the tour the importance of continuing the development process so that Montaza becomes a touristic destination for the Alexandrians and a global attraction for the tourists. The development process is undertaken by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority whose Chairman, Staff Major General Ihab al-far, accompanied al-Sisi during the tour.

Last year, Egyptian contractor and actor Mohamed Ali, who worked as a sub-contractor for the Egyptian Armed Forces and Intelligence Services, revealed the massive corruption of the Montaza development project in the form of wasting hundreds of millions of pounds.

Mohamed Ali said in one of his videos that in the course of his work at one of the Armed Forces’ hotels, the authorities asked him suddenly to stop what he was doing to start working on another more urgent and pressing project. He discovered that the project was constructing a palace for al-Sisi at el-Mamurah Beach, Alexandria, after demolishing a previous palace that was constructed in the same place by the overthrown President Hosni Mubarak. The project was required to be finished as soon as possible because al-Sisi intended to spend Eid al-Adha in the newly constructed palace.

In the video, Ali explained that the president’s wife, Intsar al-Sisi, refused to spend Eid at the Montaza Presidential Palace that Suzanne Mubarak used to spend her holidays in and that she ordered the construction of a new presidential rest house at a cost of EGP 250 million ($15.7 million) for construction, besides the price of the land and the costs of the foundation and interior design. After he was done with the construction, Intsar asked for some new modifications to be carried on the palace that cost another EGP 60 million ($3.8 million) so that the total cost of the palace, that she will spend only a few hours in, amounted to more than EGP 300 million ($18.8 million).

Ali unveiled several other palaces and rest houses that he constructed for al-Sisi and his wife and sons since he was still the Minister of Defence, i.e., before he even became president, although over 30 other presidential palaces already existed.

Al-Sisi issued decree no. 157 of 2019 to form a committee for the development of the Montaza area of Alexandria, chaired by Engineer Sherif Ismael, the presidential aide for national and strategic projects. The members of the committee included the minister of tourism, the presidential adviser for urban planning, chairman of the executive board of the General Commission for Tourism Development, the Head of Montaza for tourism and investment.

The processes were assigned to the Armed Forces Engineering Authority under the pretext of collaborating with the Ministry of Tourism and the Holding Co. For Tourism and Hotels to construct, restore, and redevelop the palaces, rest houses, and facilities, as well as increasing the services efficacy and linking the area by sea to the rest of the main ports of the Mediterranean Basin via constructing a global marina for the ships. In addition, the process was to include reinforcing the infrastructure of the area, increasing its green space, constructing an open coast road, and organising an annual programme for cultural, artistic, and sports events and activities in the area. These processes are to cover an area of 370 feddans.

This plan, however, was put on hold after Mohamed Ali revealed the squandering of hundreds of millions under the pretext of redevelopment, which in reality is the construction processes taken over by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority and then sub-contracted to other contractors as some kind of brokerage which the army became extremely involved in since al-Sisi assumed the presidency.