Egypt's cabinet approved on Tuesday a draft law issued by the presidency to amend the criminal procedures law in a manner which extends the statute of limitations for bribery.
The amendment comes after a court dismissed charges against Egypt's toppled President Hosni Mubarak regarding wasting public funds due to the expiry of the case's statute of limitations.
According to the new amendment, the statute of limitations for bribery starts the moment the public employee who committed the crime is removed from post, instead of starting right after the crime is committed. The amendment is in order as long as the crime has not been investigated before.
In an official statement released on Tuesday, the cabinet said the amendment comes in the context of "improving the state's legislative policy to protect public funds against aggression."
Mubarak and his two sons Alaa and Gamal were accused of exploiting their influence in the favour of businessman Hussein Salem after the latter granted them five villas in the Sinai resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. The judge heading the trial, Mahmoud al-Rashidi said that the statute of limitations in this case has expired, and therefore the court lacks jurisdiction to rule on it.
In reaction to the verdict, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi mandated on Sunday the Legislative Reform Committee to study possible amendments of the criminal procedures law in a manner which meets the recommendations of the court which ruled in Mubarak's case.
Moataz Khafagy, Head of the Cairo Criminal Court, told Aswat Masriya on Monday that the amendment would not be applicable retroactively.
The draft law therefore cannot be used in trying Mubarak for the same charge he has been acquitted of. The prosecution would have to press fresh bribery charges against the former president for him to be tried under the amended law, unless a decree is issued ordering his trial under this specific law.
The Cairo Criminal Court also dropped on Saturday the charges against Mubarak, his Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six of the latter's aides over complicity in the murder of protesters during the January 2011 uprising which toppled his regime.
The verdict sparked wide dissent and prompted nationwide protests, specifically among university students.
Two protesters demonstrating against the verdict were killed, and 14 others were injured Saturday evening in clashes with police forces in Abdel Moniem Riad square in downtown Cairo, the ministry of health said.
Mubarak and his interior minister were sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for the same charges before an appeals court ordered their retrial. The retrial began in April, 2013.
In May, a Cairo court sentenced Mubarak to three years in prison on embezzlement charges.
He is serving time in a military hospital in Cairo, where he returned upon Saturday's ruling.