Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat-Government sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that Egyptian authorities had ordered the seizure of the assets of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members because it suspected them of “funding terrorism.”
Dr Hisham Kamal, a leading figure of the Anti-Coup Alliance supporting former president Mohamed Mursi, criticized the move, telling Asharq Al-Awsat that “the decision to freeze the assets of leaders of the Brotherhood and the seizure of their companies will have a negative effect on these companies in the stock market.”
Government sources said the companies seized on Monday “were proven to be owned partially or totally by the Brotherhood leadership, including those in detention in Egyptian prisons,” adding that “others who own shares in these companies have fled the country, mainly to Qatar and Turkey,” following the ouster of Mursi.
Kamal, who is also a spokesman for the Salafist Front, said: “There is no evidence of reports of Brotherhood leaders fleeing the country,” and he added that the alliance would continue to call for protests against the government.
The Justice Ministry on Monday announced the seizure of the moveable and immovable properties of 572 leading members of the country’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the seizure of 87 schools belonging to the movement.
Government sources said massive amounts of money were involved in the seizure, and included three car dealerships, as well as seven real estate companies involved in projects in Cairo and the 6th of October City. They also included “nine currency exchanges and two pharmaceutical companies, as well as 17 companies working in the import, export and contracting field.”
Senior officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Justice Ministry had sent a memo to the Qatari authorities urging them to take necessary measures to apprehend Egyptian national Assem Abdel-Majid, who is a leading figure in the pro-Mursi Anti-Coup Alliance, and who is thought to have disappeared after the security forces broke-up the two major pro-Mursi protest camps in Cairo in August.
Ambassador Badr Abelati, official Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that the request sent to Qatar to apprehend Abdel-Majid was “routine procedure.”
Meanwhile, sources at the Justice Ministry said they had information that Abdel-Majid was in Qatar and that he was “wanted in Egypt on criminal charges, including incitement of violence.” They added that the Ministry was following up the request sent to Qatar for his arrest.
The Qatari embassy in Cairo refused to comment on the subject.
The Justice Ministry, meanwhile, said classes at the Brotherhood-owned schools, which were seized by the government, would not be affected, and that the Ministry of Education would assume responsibility for the financial supervision of the schools.
In a meeting on Monday, chaired by Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, the government discussed a report on the steps taken by the Foreign Ministry to inform the Arab League about the Council of Ministers’ decision of December 25, which declared the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organization.”
Sources said the decision to declare the Brotherhood a “terrorist organization” was in accordance with the articles of the anti-terrorism agreement signed by Arab countries.
United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Egypt and permanent envoy to the Arab League, Mohamed Bin Nakhirah Al-Dhahiri, confirmed he had been notified of the Egyptian government’s decision on the Muslim Brotherhood.
The MENA news agency quoted ambassador Dhahiri as saying: “The leadership and people of the UAE affirm their support for the efforts made by the Egyptian government to restore stability and strengthen development and security, and to move forward in the political process which is embodied in the road map.”