Finance Minister in hot water of Ezbet el-Haggana comments

A number of members of parliament have requested the dismissal of Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali due to his statements about real estate owners in Ezbet el-Haggana district during a Monday meeting of the parliament’s planning and budget committee.

Ghali reportedly insulted Ezbet el-Haggana land owners with expletives and said that they were responsible for building unlicensed houses in the area.

In mid-December, demolition orders were issued against 28 apartment buildings in the Nasr City neighborhood of Ezbet el-Haggana. Dozens were injured as residents resisting eviction clashed with security forces. There have been no demolitions since.

Ghali called on the government to compensate those who were evicted and warned against a growth in informal settlements within Egyptian cities because the law is not carried out by competent government authorities.

Muslim Brotherhood MP Hassan Ibrahim requested President Hosni Mubarak dismiss Ghali for his comments.

Wafd Party MP Salah el-Sayegh agreed. "Ghali’s dismissal should be an example for any other minister who exceeds his limits," said El-Sayegh.

"The minister is known for his insolence anyway," said Al-Dostour MP Mohamed el-Omda of el-Sayegh.

Committee head Ahmed Ezz said the 28 unlicensed units in the area that are under demolition orders have cost the government some LE200 million.

Ezz said he disagreed with the ruling party’s MP Atef Abdo, who accused the Urban Communities Authority of causing the problem by selling state-owned land for high prices, forcing some citizens to build unlicensed housing units.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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