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Recovering looted state land need not mean demolishing buildings: Egypt committee

Egypt will not destroy buildings built on stolen state land. But it won't allow the persons behind such unlawful acquisition to profit

Ahram Online , Saturday 11 Jun 2016
Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab
Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab (AP)

Egypt's head of a committee that intends to recover looted state lands, Ibrahim Mahlab, has said that retrieving state lands need not entail demolishing buildings or destroying industrial and agricultural wealth.

The Egyptian president's aide for national and strategic projects stressed that the committee was keen on preserving investments embodied in existing buildings, no matter their nature or who built them.

In statements circulated by the state owned MENA agency, Mahlab said that those who claim they're enforcing law through destroying crops or demolishing buildings aim to defame the committee's work, adding that the committee sees a distinction between those who illegally grab and develop state lands and the buildings they build.

Mahlab accentuated that the committee was created to capitalise on Egypt's land wealth and so it would not leave land in the hands of those who profit from it illegally.

Mahlab pointed out that the committee's principle of work since its beginning has been to preserve Egypt's wealth. Contested buildings or crops are seized until the person who unlawfully took the land codifies his illegal status in a timely fashion.

If such persons do not abide by a deadline to codify this status, and if they refuse to pay state dues, the land is then put up for sale in a public auction.

Formed by Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi last February, the committee aims to redeem stolen state lands in accordance with the law governing each authority.

The committee includes the minister of local development, the president’s aide for security affairs and counter-terrorism, and representatives from the justice, defence and finance ministries, and Egypt's general intelligence.

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