The Cairo Criminal Court on Sunday resumed the retrial of former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly in the case pertaining to the new license plates of the Traffic Department.
The court set 29 December to issue the verdict and ordered the Public Prosecution to include decree No. 810 issued by the Finance Ministry in the case file.
The court, which convened at 11 am, allowed Adly to step outside the dock and defend himself. “I will not address the legal aspects but I will talk about the injustice I have suffered due to the political circumstances that took place in the country, especially that I had stayed in office for 14 years,” he said.
He said that he served the country for 50 years faithfully. “Any mistake I made was unintentional,” he said, pointing out that the Interior Ministry under his leadership did its duty fully and was able to end terrorism.
“The whole world knew of the security situation in Egypt,” he added. “It is clearly incomparable to the situation after 25 January.”
Talking about a memorandum attached to the case file, which the prosecution said does not clearly state national security considerations, he said terrorist operations and car accidents are both national security considerations, stressing that he was not involved in preparing the memorandum. “The secretary of Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali said he wrote it himself,” he said. “And I would not check a memorandum personally written by the finance minister.”
“The prosecution tried to impede my innocence,” he said. “This contravenes the Constitution that says the accused is innocent until proven guilty.”
“Everybody knew about the license plates,” he said. “Even President Hosni Mubarak was convinced of the idea when it was presented to him on Police Day.”
“It was originally Ghali’s idea,” he said. “He was an efficient finance minister.”
He said Ghali told him the Interior Ministry would not incur any costs. “I accepted the idea so as to help fight the terrorism that we have been facing for many years,” he said.
“Forging license plates is common, especially as trade unions print their logos on them,” he said. “Given the increasing number of cars, the contracted company failed to supply more plates and people drove without plates or forged their own.”
Adly ended his testimony by calling for justice and mercy. “I place myself in God’s hands,” he said.
Commenting on Adly, the prosecution said the Finance Ministry advisor said it was the interior minister and not the finance minister who collected the fees of the plates.
The prosecution reiterated its last statements and demanded the maximum penalty for the accused, while the defense team of Adly and Nazif said the accused aimed at achieving the public interest and the elimination of terrorism with those plates and demanded their acquittal.
Lawyer Farid al-Deeb requested to include in the case file decree No. 810 that was issued by the Finance Ministry in 2008 regarding the collection of the plate fees, saying no one can collect any fees without prior permission from the finance ministry.
He also said that Nazif is not detained and that Adly is detained pending trial and so asked for a postponement, but the court said it has other cases to consider.
Lawyer Mohamed al-Guindi said he had filed a complaint with the prosecutor general against the interior ministers who took office after Adly for continuing to collect plate fees but the complaint was discarded, which means Adly did not commit a crime.