Reconciliation over land violations aims to attract foreign investment

Experts have praised the government for considering a law intended to absolve from criminal liability those investors who bought state-owned land in violation of the law under the rule of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The experts said that investors should be absolved of responsibility, with the blame placed on former officials instead, who they acknowledged were corrupt and should be brought to trial.

They said the new law would reassure foreign businessmen and encourage them to invest in Egyptian projects.

Such land plots were sold to investors by direct order and not at public auction as is stipulated by the law.

“Some investors may resort to international arbitration,” said Omar al-Shawafy, head of the National Center for State Landscape. “Trying those officials would strengthen our position in arbitration.”

Former Housing Minister Hassaballah al-Kafrawy said he did not mind if the government reconciled with those investors, so long as they agreed to pay the estimated price differences and other fees.

For his part, Salah Hegab, an architect, said the government should handle each case individually in terms of alleged violations. “The rights of the citizens who bought housing units in those lands should be preserved,” he said. “They had nothing to do with the fact that the officials sold it illegally.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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