Van Gogh investigations nearing closure
Sat, 28/08/2010 – 14:51
Investigations into the theft of the van Gogh painting Poppy Flower ended two days ago, according to the North Giza Prosecution. Over the six days of investigations, the prosecution heard 32 witnesses. Another six individuals were imprisoned on charges of negligence, including the head of the Fine Arts Sector Mohsen Shalaan. Authorities renewed the imprisonment of these six for another 15 days, pending further investigations.
Authorities will soon complete investigations in their entirety, according to a criminal laboratory report. Judicial sources said the suspects are expected to be referred for criminal trial over the next few days.
During the investigations, the prosecution heard the testimony of Salah al-Meligui, head of the Central Unit for Museums. He said he intended to include a plan to renovate the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in the budget but Shalaan asked him to postpone that plan and use the budget allocations for the development of other museums. Shalaan successfully pressured the Minister of Culture to use money from the Cultural Development Fund for the Khalil Museum’s renovations, according to al-Meligui.
Mahmoud Bassiouni, head of the engineering department of the fine arts sector, said Shalaan is to blame for not including the museum’s development plan in the budget. Bassiouni said he created designs for the project as instructed.
Employees from the fine arts sector said there was a plan to move the contents of the Khalil Museum to al-Gezira Museum until the renovations were completed. The contents of the museum were never moved, however, because the al-Gezira Museum also required renovations.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.