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Egypt government reshuffle rumoured after corruption allegations

Egypt is reportedly poised to make a cabinet reshuffle that may include up to nine ministers, following the arrest of agriculture minister
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's cabinet as of March 2015 (AFP PHOTO/HO/EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY)

Egypt is poised to make a cabinet reshuffle that may include up to nine ministers, local media reported on Tuesday.

The growing speculation comes one day after Egyptian agriculture minister Salah Helal resigned ahead of a corruption probe. He has since been arrested.

Helal "resigned on the orders of the president", a statement from the office of Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said on Monday.

Although Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi had vowed to fight corruption, some critics view the current government as lacking the will to seriously tackle graft.

Last week, the Egyptian prosecution service had imposed a ban on the media on reporting about the case.

On Saturday, cabinet spokesman Hussam al-Qawish denied rumours that there will be a ministerial reshuffle, but government sources have now confirmed to the Egyptian press that a change in the line-up is expected.

The upcoming reshuffle is expected to include the Minister of Religious Endowment Mohammed Mokhtar Jomaa.  

Other ministries potentially included in the reshuffle are those of irrigation, education, higher education and local development. The agriculture and irrigation ministries are reportedly going to be merged into one ministry.

The last cabinet reshuffle took place in March when six ministers were replaced, including the minister of interior.

Egypt ranked 94 out of 175 states in the corruption index in 2014 compiled by the anti-graft watchdog Transparency International.

Earlier this week, thousands of Egyptians reportedly called for an investigation into corruption after a stand-up student failed seven exams.