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The Case Of The 157 Missing Artefacts From Saqqara Galleries

A lawyer has filed a report with Egypt's Prosecutor General, accusing the Minister of Antiquities and the Director of Saqqara Archaeological Galleries of being involved in the disappearance of 157 artefacts.

Serious accusations have been levelled against the Minister of Antiquities and the Director of Saqqara Archaeological Galleries after a report was sent to Egypt’s Prosecutor General claiming the disappearance of a whopping 157 ancient Egyptian artefacts on Saturday.

According to Ahram Online, the report was sent by Egyptian lawyer Samir Sabri, who claims a reliable source inside the ministry told him that the objects were stolen three years ago and have started emerging at international auctions. Sabri has also made a formal request that the Minister and the Director of Saqqara be banned from travelling outside the country until the investigation has concluded.

In one case, Interpol managed to seize an authentic Egyptian limestone artefact that was being auctioned in Switzerland. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the item being auctioned matched the description of ‘the seven oils’ piece stored in one of the Saqqara galleries.

After examining the artefact, it was proven that the piece being auctioned in Switzerland was, in fact, the original artefact, while the one in Saqqara is a replica. Speaking with Ahram online, the supervisor of the Minister of Antiquities office explained that, in 2014, under former minister Mohamed Ibrahim, a request was made to move select artefacts from the Saqqara Gallery to be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking the Giza plateau. It is believed that there were numerous irregularities during the transfer, which may have been when the artefacts disappeared.

The supervisor also mentioned that a request was sent to the Prosecutor General in October to give the ministry approval to make a detailed inventory list of all artefacts being stored in the Saqqara storehouses, and to take legal action if necessary.

The details of the case are still murky and an investigation is currently underway to figure out who is responsible for the missing artefacts finding their way to international auctions.