Egypt’s health and education sectors and local administration authorities are the most corrupt and overstaffed sectors in Egypt, said Judge Sameh Kamal, head of the Administrative Prosecution Authority.
Kamal cited the economic situation as the reason behind the Egyptian administrative entities’ overstaffing, adding that the Civil Service Law had previously been proposed, but the Mubarak regime failed to pass it. Kamal stressed the Administration Prosecution’s right to independence, and to adopt a new law that fits its role and the changes taking place in Egypt.
Why are you now specifically demanding a new law for the Administrative Prosecution Authority?
The Administrative Prosecution Authority is an independent judicial body, according to the 2012 and 2014 constitutions. It was established as an independent judicial body with two wings: the Administrative Prosecution Authority; and the Administrative Control Authority. Afterwards, they naturally split, but the prosecution law remained with its scattered texts and unrelated items. No amendment to the law has been made so far. Although many things happened, including the economic foundation and public sector that were demolished and the two revolutions, the Administrative Prosecution Law is still too rigid to be amended, unlike many things that were changed. However, they needed processing and new insights. So we seek to pass a new law that fits all the variables that I mentioned.
Why do you ask for separation from the Ministry of Justice?
In the first place, the Administrative Prosecution was affiliated with the presidency, then it was referred to the Ministry of Justice, but the Constitution stipulates that it is an independent judicial body. However, the word “independent” does not mean a 100% independent entity, as there are administrative matters related to the Ministry of Justice. In addition, the Administrative Prosecution is an independent body, according to the current legal texts, when it comes to its judicial performance.
Do you think that your demand for independence will receive support?
I do not pre-empt the incidents, and prefer to wait and see until we get what we want.
What is the nature of the disciplinary committees?
Disciplinary committees were formed to conduct and facilitate the work flow, in accordance with the law that allowed the Administrative Prosecution to issue sanctions within a certain range, while in the future it will be up to the Administrative Prosecution Law.
Do you think there is a conflict with the State Council in terms of judicial specialties?
The Administrative Prosecution replaced the administrative authority in issuing the penalty, as the former was entitled to refer the employee, who was proven guilty after an investigation into his work, for an administrative penalty. The disciplinary committees now assume this task, to confirm the idea of deterrence for violators. The law stipulates that disciplinary courts are specialised in trying the appeals filed against the Administrative Prosecution’s decisions, and it does not contradict with the jurisdiction of the State Council.
The investment complaints unit is also seen as contradictory to the dispute resolution committees?
The investment complaints unit’s structure does not contradict with other bodies; rather, the dispute resolution committees can refer those working in the administrative authority that obstruct its work to the unit. In this way, it helps these bodies and does not conflict with them.
Does this mean the possibility of establishing more alike committees?
It is possible to establish more units based on a perception of the prosecution’s future role.
What is the authority’s stand regarding the Civil Service Law?
We said that the Civil Service Law is good, but not enough. It is good to issue a law based on the general perception of the civil service, but not enough because the flabbiness was not a result of a law, but the economic state in Egypt which stopped producing special jobs after the world financial crisis of 2008, which left a huge impact on the economy. The people were deceived and the economy reached a state of flabbiness and stagnation. Schools and university graduates do not find jobs, in addition to the early retirement of employees, all within an economy that does not provide job opportunities, so the unemployment rate increased. The law was originally formed in the days of Hosni Mubarak, by former minister of administrative development Dr Ahmed Darwish. At the time, he tried to promote it, but he failed and the regime fell, until it was taken out of the drawers again, and new amendments made. We queried and provided our opinion in several memoranda. We have no objection to the law, especially as it was amended in a considerable way. The initial draft law was very bad.
What is your stand regarding the issue of “zero mark” in secondary schools?
This issue may lead to something or nothing.
But there is a popular rejection of this result?
The role of the Administrative Prosecution did not end in the case. It was referred to the Forensic Medicine Authority [who can investigate handwriting samples], and the issue is still under investigation. In such important cases, it is not required to rush; rather we must reach a result. But I hope not to use this issue to undermine the efforts of correcting hundreds of exams papers. Public secondary schools have hundreds of thousands of students, and it is not a high ratio if we monitored two or three cases.
The ratio is not high, but was the size of the offence explicit?
In Egypt, there is a hard exerted effort to get out of this current crisis, which should be appreciated. Whoever deviates away from the public behaviour shall be punished.
The idea is the unbalance of the equation, the state facing a girl, who may be oppressed?
Regardless of any thing, if any deviation was proven, the perpetrator shall be punished.
Was the state’s reaction violent?
Of course, I would have preferred it if an official came out to say this was being studied.
Why is corruption still rampant in the administrative authority?
I have already said that the Egyptian economy reached stagnation, and the country has grown old – what do you expect? Corruption goes beyond all borders. Egypt was one of the latter countries in the ranking of countries transparency index. It was also in a state of liquidity, and even regulatory agencies were almost stagnant. I think that things are now moving in a better direction, and that there has been an improvement in the transparency index, as well as the fight against corruption. Economy is on its way towards improvement. The citizen now feels that he lives in a country that does the best for them, even if everything remains as it is.
What are the most corrupt sectors?
The most corrupt sectors in Egypt are local councils, education, and health. There is an attempt to reform the health sector. The state is trying to reform education and local councils. However, overall, it feels like we have semi-systems of education and health.
There are demands to protect employees from future prosecution if they did something wrong for the benefit of the state. Can you elaborate more on this?
There is a justified breach, and an unjustified breach. However, there shouldn’t be a law that protects violations. Sooner rather than later, this law will be eliminated and swept away by the waves of time. The law protects the justified unintentional violations, and doesn’t discriminate whoever breaches their permits, if they did so in good intention without harming the state.
Why are the recommendations of the Administrative Prosecution Authority not followed, especially in important issues?
Prosecutors’ recommendations come at an ideal limit, but things do not go this way.
What does the administrative body need to improve on?
The administrative body needs training at a high level and as soon as possible, if we want to reach a result. We must spend on this training. They could be expensive, but the results are much better.
What about the restructuring?
A good new effective suitable training is what matters, in the eyes of citizens, to make the government job worth it.