Following the much publicised alleged theft of cash from the Egyptian
football team 10 days ago in Johannesburg, police have ruled out hotel
staff and “mystery women” who were blamed for the robbery — and the
country’s ambassador has asked that media apologise for tarnishing the
team’s image, writes Sally Evans in The Times.

At a press briefing in Pretoria yesterday, deputy national police commissioner Andre Pruis said the completed investigation had not identified any suspects.

“There was no evidence … to indicate that any women — other than authorised hotel staff — entered rooms allocated to the Egyptian delegation.”

Senior superintendent Brian Oppelt, who led the investigation, said that hours of CCTV footage and 28 statements had ruled out the hotel cleaning staff.

“The cleaners were interviewed and underwent two polygraph tests. We have cleared them; there is no way in my mind it could have been the cleaning staff.”

Members of the team, who were staying at the Protea hotel in Rosebank during the Confederations Cup, reported that R19000 was stolen from their rooms during their historic 1-0 win over Italy at Ellis Park on July, 19.

After the incident, news reports quoted a “senior policeman” as saying: “No money was taken from the safe, but we have heard that they had been drinking and womanising, and the same women later robbed them.”

But the Egyptian embassy vehemently denied the reports and Egyptian ambassador to South Africa Dr Mohamed Zayed said at the briefing yesterday: “All this information is going to be corrected. If this doesn’t happen, we will take extra measures.”

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