Egypt has seized land valued at 64 billion Egyptian pounds ($10.6 billion) that was sold to investors who didn’t make use of it, Housing Minister Mohamed Fathi ElBaradei said.
The government confiscated 54 million square meters (13,300 acres) of land in 12 newly built communities, as well as 3,600 feddans (3,470 acres) of land in an area known as the Green Belt that was intended for agricultural use, ElBaradei said in an interview in Cairo today.
In comments earlier on Al Arabiya television, the minister said the land was worth 64 billion pounds, and would be resold after the country’s political situation stabilizes. The revenue generated from the sales will be used for social housing and sewage projects for Egyptian rural areas, ElBaradei told the Dubai-based station.
The sale of government lands at below-market rates to investors was among the targets of protesters during the uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak last year. Mubarak’s critics maintained that officials in his government cut sweetheart deals with investors, awarding them land at cut- rate prices and often in exchange for later perks or kickbacks.
Former Housing Minister Ibrahim Soliman was sentenced to eight years in prison in March after being found guilty by a Cairo court of facilitating the usurpation of state land and squandering public funds.
To contact the reporter on this story: Abdel Latif Wahba in Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org; Zainab Fattah in Dubai at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at firstname.lastname@example.org.