Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi dismissed Hisham Geneina, the head of Egypt’s Central Auditing Organization (CAO) by presidential decree for “misleading the public” about rampant government corruption in the country.
Sisi’s decree was issued on Monday, just hours after State Security Prosecution issued a statement saying that Geneina’s claims about the country’s corruption were false and relied on old numbers to exaggerate the total figures.
The president had previously passed a decree that gave him the unprecedented power to dismiss the heads of regulatory agencies, including CAO and the Central Bank of Egypt, among others.
Last year, Geneina made statements to the media that government corruption cost the country EGP 600 billion from 2012-2015, stirring widespread controversy.
Shortly thereafter, Sisi formed an investigative committee to look into the auditor’s claims. In January of this year, the committee concluded that Geneina’s statements were false and accused him of “deliberately defaming state authorities.”
Geneina had been appointed as the country’s top auditor by ousted President Mohamed Morsi, causing some to accuse him of being a puppet of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Sisi has repeatedly stated that he is “committed” to fighting corruption. However, his decision to dismiss Geneina, who has often reported corruption in the country’s institutions, has raised eyebrows.
Egypt has long struggled with corruption; Transparency International reported Egypt as the 88th least corrupt nation out of 175 countries in 2015. This figure had reached 118 out of 175 in 2012.