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Suez Company says refinery explosion fault of former minister

27 February 2012

Araby Abdel Hamid, head of the legal department at the Suez Company for Petroleum Manufacturing, said he holds former Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali responsible for the blast, in which five workers were killed and eight injured on February 22.

He told state news agency MENA that Boutros-Ghali refused to replace the company’s machinery or modernise it even though company officials submitted 20 requests to do so. He said the blast was a result of successive governments' corruption over the past 30 years.

He claimed Boutros-Ghali wanted to merge the Suez Company for Petroleum Manufacturing and Nasr Petroleum as a step towards privatising oil refining companies, but the General Petroleum Authority rejected the idea. As a result, Abdel Hamid said, Boutros-Ghali insisted that the company’s equipment not be overhauled.

The fire started when one of the company’s oil separation tanks exploded, according to MENA. Authorities said a pump had burst inside the tank.

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