Egypt’s prosecutor said the driver and his assistant were not at the controls at the moment the train they were in charge of crashed at high speed into a stationary train, killing at least 20 people.
The prosecutor also claimed that the assistant of the stationary train and the track signalman were under the influence of the painkiller tramadol, while the former also used cannabis.
At least 199 people were injured in the deadly train crash that took place on 26 March near Sohad, in southern Egypt.
The prosecutor said an investigation had disputed previous claims that the driver and his assistant were in the driver’s cabin when the crash happened.
Video footage showed the moving train hitting a stationary one at high speed, sending one carriage high into the air, leading to a large cloud of dust.
Transport Minister Kamel al-Wazir has said he would not resign following the incident, further stoking public anger over the incident.
Wazir insisted in a television interview that leaving his post would be counterproductive despite growing calls for him to step down.
“I am not used to escaping… I cannot escape from this. If after every incident ministers stepped down, what’s the point? Wouldn’t it be better for me to stay in my position until things get sorted out?
“I am doing everything I can, and God is my witness, for my country and my president who trusts me… if I am lazy and not doing my work, then I will resign because that would make me a traitor,” he said.
However, despite Wazir’s claims that he and rail workers were drawing up plans to improve the country’s transport system, the minister’s comments were not well-received by Egyptians, who called for accountability.
Wazir had already blamed last month’s crash on human error and pledged to introduce an automated network by 2024 after a string of train accidents in Egypt.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has vowed to hold to account those responsible for the crash.
At least eight people, including the driver and his assistant, were arrested shortly after the crash, which happened in the village of Samaa Gharb, 460km south of Cairo.