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Court postpones review of Palm Hills case

An Egyptian court has postponed the review of Palm Hills Development case until 4 January, 2011

Salma El-Wardani , Tuesday 14 Dec 2010
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Egypt's administrative court has postponed today the review of a lawsuit calling for the annulment of land sales to the urban development project in New Cairo Palm Hills Development (PHD).

The new review date is set for 4 January, 2011.

The lawsuit, filed by Hamdi al-Fakharani, an owner of a construction company, claims the contract, in which 960,000 square meters of land were assigned by direct order to the company, violates the law regulating tenders and auctions.

"We provided strong evidence that Housing Minister Ahmed al-Maghrabi owns a stake in Palm Hills Developments, in violation of the Constitution, which stipulates that ministers may not purchase state land while in office," lawyer Khaled Ali told Ahram Online.

"We demanded the appearance of the minister in the court's next session to answer these charges, if he can prove the opposite," he adds.

Ali also claims that PHD is a clear case of nepotism and favoritism, where business and politics overlap.

Al-Fakharani has filed his lawsuit against Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, the minister of housing and the head of the Urban Communities Authority, alleging the land was sold at a price lower than that of the market.

With the second largest land bank in Egypt, PHD is one of the major urban development companies operating in the country. Most of its revenues during the period of 2007-2009 came from the resale of plots of land.

PHD was founded in 2005 by the Mansour and Maghraby Investment and Development Company (MMID) and is listed on the Egypt Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

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