Committee set up to deal with Egyptian property disputes
Egypt is to set up a committee to settle problems surrounding a string of legal challenges to sales of state land to real estate developers that have shaken confidence in the country property sector.
The lawsuits began last year when a court ruled that a sale of state land to Talaat Moustafa Group, the country's biggest developer, was illegal. It sparked a series of similar legal challenges, revolving around whether the government should have respected a 1998 law stipulating all state land sales must take place after competitive bidding.
The legal wrangles have gathered pace since mass protests toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February and more questions were asked about the legal viability of some of the country’s biggest property projects.
Egypt's general prosecutor has referred two former housing ministers to trial for their role in several controversial deals with real estate firms. Land has been withdrawn from at least three firms.
Meanwhile there are signs that overseas developers are preparing to return to the country. Qatar is reported to be drawing up potential projects worth at least $10 billion.
This follows a visit to Egypt earlier this month by Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. ‘I believe these projects, when implemented, will surpass $10 billion and they will be productive products in Egypt,’ Ambassdor Saleh Al Buainein told Al Ahram.
There are also reports of the Qatar government financing a new port in the western outskirts of Alexandria at Malahat, which would be the world's largest.