Aswan flood victims housing case referred to prosecution

The legal row over housing units allocated for flood victims in Aswan’s Wadi el-Allaqi district has been referred to state prosecutors by Aswan Governor Mustafa el-Sayyid. El-Sayyid accuses project consultant Mamdouh Hamza and the Muwasa Society–the private charity that oversaw the project–of building 63 architecturally-substandard homes.

El-Sayyid says that, in the wake of January’s flooding–which inundated the Sinai Peninsula as well as Aswan–he had appreciated Hamza’s cooperation and had therefore told him not to mind minor construction and licensing details. He says that some LE33 million was handed over to Muwasa for the construction of housing units for those displaced by the floods, but that the society had violated the law by transferring the funds to its bank account.

He goes on to point out that periodic follow-up inspections of the project had revealed basic technical deficiencies at odds with initial designs for the housing units provided by Hamza’s office. According to el-Sayyid, some of the buildings’ columns are less than 10 cm thick–far less than standard 50-cm columns–rendering them dangerous to inhabitants. His assertions, he added, have been supported by local architects and experts from Cairo University.

El-Sayyid claims he had then asked Hamza to resume construction based on original designs and to repair the flaws in the 63 units already built. When these requests failed to materialize, however, he decided to refer the issue to state prosecutors, since the handling of the grant had been marred by legal and financial violations.

Mahmoud Meghawry, head of the Housing Ministry’s urbanization authority, stresses that the authority had not been involved in the project, as Hamza has claimed. According to Meghawry, the authority is instead taking part in another housing project launched by First Lady Suzanne Mubarak in the village of Al-Aaqab.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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