HAVANA - Prosecutors in Cuba have requested prison sentences of up to 20 years for officials accused of stealing eight million eggs from state companies, state media said Friday.

The 2012 egg affair cost the communist country’s government $356,000, state newspaper Granma reported. ‘The prosecution has requested punishments of between eight and 20 years for the accused,’ who were part of a ‘criminal network,’ said the daily. Prosecutors accuse the 19 employees of the state food distributors of using dodgy accounting, fake receipts and unauthorized delivery routes to set up a black-market egg empire. They succeeded ‘thanks to unobservant and/or corrupt supervisors, deficient or absent monitoring mechanisms and complicit or tolerant attitudes,’ said the newspaper, which did not say when the trial would take place.

The accused include Luis Roberto Barzaga, financial director at the state trade company for Havana province, and his deputy. President Raul Castro launched an anti-corruption campaign in 2009, calling graft a ‘cancer’ for the country. Cuba’s state-controlled media rarely report on corruption cases, but occasionally mention trials against Cuban officials or foreign business executives, typically ending with long prison sentences.