Egypt court suspends sentence for ex anti-corruption chief
CAIRO - An appeals court on Thursday suspended a prison sentence for Egypt's former anti-corruption chief, who was convicted of exaggerating the economic impact of graft on the country.
Hisham Geneina, the former head of the Central Auditing Authority, had been sentenced to a one-year prison term in July.
The appeals court upheld his conviction but suspended the sentence for three years, meaning he could be jailed if he repeats the offence.
The retired judge's troubles began after he quoted a study by the authority based on 2012-2015 reports that calculated the cost of corruption at about 600 billion pounds (about $30 billion).
The study highlighted the allegedly illegal acquisition of state-owned land by senior officials and businessmen from the tenure of toppled president Hosni Mubarak.
Geneina had faced an intense media campaign accusing him and his family of tarnishing Egypt's image and of membership of the banned Islamist opposition.
The prosecution accused Geneina of "spreading false news with the goal of harming public interest" and of using "baseless calculations" to exaggerate the cost of corruption.
Watchdog Transparency International ranks Egypt as 88th out of 168 countries on its corruption perceptions index, and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has publicly launched a crackdown on the widespread graft that dogged the Mubarak years.
"Putting Egypt's top auditor on trial sends a clear message: the Egyptian government is waging a war not against corruption but against those who fight against it," the group had said.