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The Egyptian Center: Legal Proceedings to Void alZahera Agricultural Company And Demands To Freeze All Legal Actions on 100,000 Feddans in Toshka

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, today, filed a complaint to the Attorney General has also filed a lawsuit  before the administrative court  regarding the same issue : to recover one hundred thousand feddans in Toshka that  have been illegally  allocated to alZahera  Agricultural company for LE 50 per feddan .

Lawyers at the center  filed the communique  6525   /2011 to  the Attorney General, against both  Ahmed Nazif, the former prime minister in person and capacity ,Amin Abaza,  former minister of agriculture in person and capacity, and chairman of the general authority for rehabilitation and agricultural development projects, on charges of squandering public funds, and facilitating seizure of them.  ECESR demanded the suspending all legal actions on 100,000 feddans  allocated for alZahera  company  in Toshka area.

At the same time, ECESR filed a lawsuit before the administrative court against the prime minister, minister of agriculture and land reclamation, chairman of the general authority for rehabilitation and agricultural development projects ,chairman of alZahera company,  as per their capacities, calling for the invalidity of the contract regarding this stretch of land . The contracting parties ignored the auctions and tenders bill # 89 /1998 and set the price to LE50 per feddan. ECESR argued that on 9/2/2011 the legislation and jurisprudence  issue a resolution  that this land was illegally allocated and that the contract  violated article 30 of the bill 89/1998 regarding the pricing and the maximum area to be allocated as per law 143/1980.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights said ,” All community efforts must combine to recover the stolen money and to protect and recover  public territory which the former regime wasted by illegal allocations that undervalue this land”.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights welcomes the decision of the Attorney General to hold the land owned by Alwaleed Bin Talal  in Toshka and restraining it. The Center  also welcomes the decision of the general authority for tourism development to cancel the initial approval of  land allocation in phase three in Sahl Hasheesh , a project  of the Egyptian company for tourism resorts, owned by businessman Ibrahim Kamel.

ECESR stressed that these decisions do not conflict with lawsuits filed before the administrative court  to recover this land , but are  complementary to public efforts to restore land. The court will eventually decide on  invalidity of contracting procedures.

However, these companies may resort  to arbitration if the land was withdrew from them. It will be rather a legal conflict between parties ,government bodies and companies. The companies side is more powerful, particularly as the terms of the contract did not restrict  companies  with real commitments. As well theses companies can launch a crackdown on  Egyptian economy under the pretext of not breaking the contracts from their side  and that they were victims of the regime after the revolution, which incites against investment and is hostile to entrepreneurs.

On the other hand , the court decision of contract invalidity, if issued by the administrative court , will be addressing contracting parties  and ruins the legal basis upon which this contract  was issued without going into details of partied commitments.  The court decision will waste the chance of these companies to appear as victims, but will expose their role as participants and beneficiaries of deliberately wasting laws governing such contracts.

On 26/4/2011, Cairo administrative court to will review the cases  : contract of Palm Hills in New Cairo ,owned by Mansour- Magrabi group  and in which Alaa Mubarak  is a share holder and the contract of alMamlaka company for agricultural development  in Toshka owned by Alwaleed bin Talal. The court will review contracts of Egyptian-Kuwaiti Company, Cleopatra Group, Sahl Hasheesh, and the new contract of Madinati.

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