IN THE FIRST remarks since his ouster, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak denied he abused his authority to amass wealth and property during a pre-recorded speech broadcast.
Mubarak, forced out of office two months ago by a popular uprising, said he was willing to cooperate in any investigation to prove that he did not own property abroad or posses foreign bank accounts.
The pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya, which broadcast the speech, said it was recorded Saturday after demonstrators gathered in huge numbers in Cairo to demand that the military council that took over from Mubarak launch an investigation into his wealth. There was no video image accompanying the recording of Mubarak’s voice.
The speech seemed to be as much about preserving his dignity as about denying the accusations against him.
“I was hurt very much, and I am still hurting — my family and I — from the unjust campaigns against us and false allegations that aim to smear my reputation, my integrity, my (political) stances and my military history,” Mubarak said.
Egyptians fed up with poverty, corruption and political repression forced Mubarak to leave office on 11 February after 18 days of mass demonstrations.
Friday’s protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square by tens of thousands was the biggest since then. Despite constitutional amendments to allow free elections and other steps toward a freer political scene, many of people in the anti-Mubarak movement are growing impatient with the ruling military’s transitional leadership.
In particular, they want to see Mubarak and his family prosecuted for corruption that permeated his nearly 29-year regime.
Since his ouster, Mubarak and his family have been under house arrest at a presidential palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, their assets frozen. But Mubarak has not been charged.
In his speech, the former president said he only possessed a single account in an Egyptian bank and only held property in Egypt. He said he would agree in writing, if requested, to allow the prosecutor-general to contact other countries to investigate whether he or his wife, Suzanne, owned any accounts or property abroad.
“I agree to authorise the prosecutor-general in writing to allow him to contact, through the Foreign Ministry, all countries in the world to prove to them that I and my wife agree to show any accounts or properties I have possessed starting from my military and political career until now to prove to the people that their former president only owns domestically according to previous financial disclosure.”
Mubarak also said he would allow Egypt’s prosecutor general to investigate whether he, his wife or his wealthy businessmen sons, Alaa and Gamal, owned any real estate or properties “directly or indirectly, commercially or for private use” since the time Mubarak assumed office in 1981.