A prosecutor in Cairo, Egypt has ordered the release of a man who was arrested for possessing an amount of subsidised sugar that exceeded the amounts ‘reasonable’ for personal use.
The man was released on Sunday on a bail of EGP 1,000.
The man, who works is a waiter at a cafe, was arrested by police in Heliopolis as he walked on the street carrying 10 kg of sugar, it was reported.
According to Ahramonline, prosecutors accused the waiter of stockpiling subsidised sugar with the intent of profiteering by selling it to a grocery store at a price higher than the market price.
It was argued however by the accused’s lawyer, Mohamed Naeem, that he was carrying the sugar for use at his uncle’s cafe, not to sell it at a grocery as claimed by police.
Prosecutors released the man on bail pending further investigation, and confiscated the 10 kilos of sugar as evidence.
Egyptian law prohibits the use of subsidised goods and commodities for commercial purposes.
Egypt’s supply ministry said last Saturday that it will set the commercial price of subsidised sugar at EGP 6 per kg (compared to EGP 10 for unsubsidised sugar) to be available at the ministry’s sales outlets in a move that aims to regulate the market amid a price hike and a shortage of the essential commodity.
Major supermarkets in the country have stopped the sale of subsidised sugar to individuals above personal use.
There is also a widespread police operation targeting dealers of sugar on the black market. A hotline has even been set up on for citizens to report incidents of stockpiling of sugar and rice.