Cairo: Egyptian police have arrested a local man for possessing an amount of sugar exceeding the limit allowed for each consumer as the country grapples with an acute shortage of the commodity, legal sources said on Monday.
The man was arrested in the eastern Cairo area of Heliopolis possessing 10kg of sugar and after a brief inquiry he was released on a bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh415), the sources added.
He is facing charges of monopoly and illegal profiteering.
His lawyer said that the defendant is a cafe attendant and was arrested in possession of sugar inside the workplace, not the street as police alleged, the semi-official Al Ahram reported.
In the past few days, Egyptian authorities have launched a massive crackdown across the country and seized large amounts of illegally obtained sugar.
The subsidised staple item is officially priced at LE5 per kilo, but consumers say the price has doubled in the black market.
State-run stores and private supermarkets have set a two-kg limit per person in order to cope with the surge in demand.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country of 91 million, consumes 181 million tonnes of sugar annually, exceeding local output by around 8 million tonnes, according to official figures.