Madinaty project should be restored to TMG, govt committee recommends

A special legal committee formed by the government to resolve the crisis surrounding the Madinaty urban development project submitted its final recommendations to Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif on Wednesday.

“We arrived at the only possible solution,” said committee president Abdel Rehim Nefea.

Legal objections to the Madinaty development are based on the fact that land for the project was sold by the government to project owner Talaat Mustafa Group (TMG) by way of direct order, in violation of laws governing the sale of state-owned land. These laws stipulate that public land must be sold via auction to the highest bidder.

The committee endorsed an earlier ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court that invalidated the land contract for the project. Were this ruling to be implemented, the land in question would be returned to the Urban Development Authority (UDA), which would then have the right to dispense with it in whatever way it deemed appropriate.

According to Article 31 (bis) of Law 148/2006, the UDA has the right to return land to the same company that had originally purchased it. Article 31 (bis) allows the direct sale of state land–rather than by way of auction–to squatters if the latter have built on the land or cultivated it and the government can cite social or economic reasons to do so.

In its report, the committee noted that the 8000 acres of undeveloped desert allocated for the project have already been provided with infrastructure, roads and housing units.

The report also confirmed the "good will" of TMG, its partners and project subscribers, asserting that all parties should be compensated if the project is canceled.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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