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Egypt court suspends verdict cancelling Porto Venice land deal

New law safeguarding state contracts from third party challenges could let Porto Venice keep large tract of coastal land allocated directly by government authority

El-Sayed Gamal El-Deen, Wednesday 3 Sep 2014
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(Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's administrative court suspended on Wednesday the annulment of the allocation of 3 million square metres of land to the touristic projects company Porto Venice for development in the Red Sea resort of Ain Sokhna.

The final verdict awaits the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court on law no. 32 for year 2014 which immunises state contracts from third party challenges.

Porto Venice for Touristic Development – owned by businessman Hisham Talaat Moustafa – was allocated by direct order from the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) 3.156 million square metres of land in the Red Sea city of Ain Sokhna at a price of LE400 million ($56 million).

Hamdy El-Fakharany, an ex-parliamentarian, challenged the prime minister, tourism minister and the head of the TDA for the allocation of land through direct order as it contradicts law no. 89 for year 1998 stipulating that land is to be allocated through auctions only.

The TDA recently approved several touristic developments along the Red Sea and in Ain Sokhna in an area extending over 5.2 million square metres.

Following 50 bids, the TDA offered five pieces of land to the winning developers to build five touristic projects in Ain Sokhna and Ras Sidr that are worth some LE3 billion ($0.4 billion).
 

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