BY MARAM SHALABY
Counterfeit money was found at different food venues at the American University in Cairo (AUC) for the first time last week.
The Public Security Office sent an email to the AUC community notifying them of the incident and explaining how to differentiate between real and counterfeit bills.
The email explained that any member of the AUC community caught with counterfeit money would face legal charges. The individual in question will be sent to the designated government authority, in accordance with Egyptian law.
“This incident shows that security and safety are the responsibility of everyone at AUC. Collective efforts with members of the community helped early detection and prevention of further incidents,” said Mahmoud Zouk, executive director for public safety.
One of the food venues on campus that were victimized by this incident is Mercato Italiano; Ehab Hassan, manager of the AUC branch, explained to the Independent:
“As soon as we [the restaurant] heard about this incident, we checked our money and found a 50 L.E. forged paper.”
“All we did was report it to the security office and put a hole into the commercial paper in order for it not to be used again. The security office still did not take any actions towards this incident,” continued Hassan.
Zouk believes that the AUC is not to be blamed in this issue and that all it can do is
“make our [AUC] community aware of the fact that this is happening, educate the community on how to differentiate between original and counterfeit currency, and take serious measures with anyone who gets caught [taking part in] these transactions.”
“We will continue monitoring the situation,” added Zouk.
“This incident reflects the lack of security in Egypt; no one is scared of doing anything anymore, and that is of course one of the [things] that facilitated this felony,” said Eslam Hassan, the manager of McDonald’s at AUC.
“There is a security process generally in all McDonald’s branches. It is a machine that verifies whether the money is real or not, that way if the cashier is having doubts about the money given to him, he can check it right away,” added Hassan.
Management at McDonald’s and Mercato Italiano asserted that cashiers are the ones to be blamed for these incidents, as they are equipped with all the necessary measures to prevent such felonies from happening.
Ideally, they should know the difference between real and fake currencies and be able to take action against the law-breaking individual on the spot.
When asked whether the university should take responsibility for what happened or not, Ehab Hassan responded: “It is not the university’s fault, because if someone has fake money the university wouldn’t be able to know since they can’t check the students.”
“However, it is the cashier’s fault for not checking the money before taking it,” he added.