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The ministry of Finance reports a corrupt employee

Just weeks before the implementation of a new real estate tax law, head of an evaluation committee is accused of corruption, as he offers to undervalue housing unit in exchange for bribe.

Marwa Hussein, Tuesday 7 Dec 2010
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An official in the Real Estate Tax Authority was accused of corruption today. The official, who was the head of one of committees evaluating real estate units, was caught while receiving a bribe, said a statement of the ministry of finance.

The ministry of finance reported the incident to the Administrative Control Authority. The accused has been arrested and transferred to the Attorney General who kept him in custody for four days.

The evaluation committees were created to implement new real estate tax laws, set to being in 2011.The minister of finance promised the new taxation process would begin with well-off Cairo suburbs and coastal second homes, which had never before been subjected to taxation. According to the new law, a LE1 million unit ($179,000) would pay only 60 pounds per year (less than $10).

According to the ministry, the accused inspected a unit from inside, violating the ministry's instructions which prevent committee members from entering the homes in question. The ministry's statement also said that "the accused called the owner of the unit and tried to convince him that he can report an under-valuation or even exempt it (the unit) completely from taxes."

“The ministry will not tolerate any corruption case of any of its employees,” said the minister of finance, Youssef Boutros Ghali, just days before the International Anti-Corruption Day, celebrated on 9 December.

Corruption is a concern in Egypt, which ranks 111 out of 180 countries on Transparency International's 2009 Corruption Perception Index. The international NGO also notes on its website that “experts agree that corruption in Egypt is pervasive and the use of wasta ('influence' in Arabic) and facilitation payments are essential to get most things done. They further note that that corruption has infiltrated all aspects of Egyptian society.” The first report of the official Egyptian Transparency and Integrity Committee, published in 2007, identified customs and taxes, among others, as one of the main areas that are most vulnerable to corruption in Egypt.
An official in Real Estate Tax Authority was accused of corruption today.

The head of one of the evaluation committees of real Estate units was caught while receiving a bribe, a statement of the ministry said.

The ministry of finance reported to the Administrative Control Authority a bribery incident at the Real Estate Taxation Authority. The accused has been arrested and transferred to the Attorney General who kept him in custody for 4 days.

The implementation of a new real estate tax law will start in 2011, cutting taxes to more than half. The minister promised to begin with well-off suburbs of Cairo and coastal second homes. A one million LE unit $179 thousand) would pay only 60 pounds per year (less than 10 dollars).

The ministry said that the accused inspected a unit from inside in violation to the instructions of the ministry which prevent the members of the committees from entering the houses. “In addition, the accused called the owner of the unit and try to convince him that he can report an under valuation of the evaluation or even exempt it completely from taxes”, added the statement.

“The ministry will not tolerate with any corruption case of any of its employees”, said the ministry of finance, Youssef Boutros Ghali few days before the International Anti-Corruption Day, celebrated the 9th of December.

Corruption is a concerning issue in the country which ranks 111 out of 180 countries in the last Corruption perception Index of 2009 of Transparency International. “Experts agree that corruption in Egypt is pervasive and the use of wasta ('influence' in Arabic) and facilitation payments are essential to get most things done. They further note that that corruption has infiltrated all aspects of Egyptian society”, note the international NGO on its website. The first report of the Transparency and Integrity Committee, published in 2007, identified customs and taxes among others as one of the main areas that are most vulnerable to corruption in Egypt.

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