Cairo: A verdict that is likely to arouse anger among pro-democracy protesters in the country, an Egyptian court on Tuesday cleared three former ministers of ousted Hosni Mubarak regime from accusations of graft. (Agencies)
It also acquitted two other high-level officials of corruption charges. This is the first not guilty verdict for former ministers since Egypt's popular uprising.
The verdicts comes a day after 10 policemen charged with killing pro democracy protesters were ordered released on bail, prompting hundreds of Egyptians to attack a courtroom here.
Some of the ministers are already convicted or face charges of other crimes. People present in the room noted the defendants looked surprised as the media was inhibited from covering the hearing procedure.
Tensions are running high in Egypt over the ruling military council's failure to punish those blamed for killing protesters during the 18-day uprising.
Former Information Minister Anas el-Fekky and former Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali were found innocent of charges of graft, specifically squandering public funds.
Boutros-Ghali, who has fled the country, was tried in absentia. He was also convicted last month and sentenced to 30 years in prison for profiteering and abuse of state and private assets.
In a separate ruling by the same court, former Housing Minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi and Palm Hills Development Chairman Yasseen Mansour were also acquitted of graft. Widespread discontentment prevails in the country as the new regime also failed to punish ex-officials accused of participating in corruption and cronyism that was widespread during the former president's nearly three-decade rule.
Fekky, who was close to Mubarak still faces further charges, and Boutros-Ghali and Maghrabi have been sentenced to terms in prison for other crimes.
Rachid was already convicted in June to 5 years in prison for profiteering and squandering public funds.
Rachid and two business executives had been charged with squandering public wealth in connection with the Industrial Modernisation Centre, a state-run body to support industry.
Prosecutors said Rachid, who fled Egypt after the uprising and has already been convicted in another case, had wasted 12.8 million pounds of state funds.
The protests that unseated Mubarak were driven by widespread anger at high-level corruption and the trials of his former associates are being seen as a credibility test for the military council that took power after his downfall.
So far there have been no deterring verdicts for figure of the former regime save for a 12 year prison statement for the former ministry of the interior on charges of money laundry.
No official has been held accountable for the killing of protesters during the revolution which ousted the former president.
Cairo: A verdict that is likely to arouse anger among pro-democracy protesters in the country, an Egyptian court on Tuesday cleared three former ministers of ousted Hosni Mubarak regime from accusations of graft.