Egypt's parliament speaker slams justice minister over 'inaction' in fighting corruption at notary offices

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 8 Dec 2019

Abdel-Aal said the minister of justice is one of the cabinet ministers who 'export problems' to President Sisi. Gamal Essam El-Din reports

A file photo of Egypt's Parliament (Photo: Reuters)

In a plenary meeting held on Sunday, Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal slammed Minister of Justice Mohamed Hossam, accusing him of doing nothing to improve services offered by public notary offices.

"Ordinary citizens and lawyers have repeatedly complained of extortion and bad services offered by public notary offices, but it seems that the government still refuses to take these complaints seriously," said Abdel-Aal, revealing that "I have phoned the minister of justice several times to bring his attention to this problem, but all of my efforts have been to no avail."

"Unless the government moves quickly to address this bad situation, I will allow an interpellation submitted against the minister of justice to be discussed in a plenary session," said Abdel-Aal.

Meanwhile, Abdel-Aal launched a scathing attack on the government of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, insisting that some cabinet ministers in this government are fond of exporting problems to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and the public.

"This government should live up to its responsibilities in line with the constitution, improve its performance, and stop exporting problems to the public and the president," said Abdel-Al.

"Besides," said Abdel-Aal, "as the government insists on ignoring answering questions directed by MPs, I can say that it is now high time for parliament to reactivate its supervisory roles, particularly interpellations."

"My message to the minister of parliamentary affairs and the minister of justice is that unless the government submits to parliament a new law regulating the performance of public notary offices within 15 days, I will move to use parliament's supervisory tools to question this government," said Abdel-Aal, insisting that "the new law should state that public notary officers will be no longer be under the purview of the Ministry of Justice and be instead affiliated with the Ministry of Planning and act as independent entities."

"If the government does not make this move within 15 days, I will ask the legislative affairs committee to draft a law aimed at meeting these objectives," said Abdel-Aal.

Abdel-Aal's words were in response to an "urgent statement" delivered by Alexandria's MP Mohamed Abdel-Fattah on what he called the extortion that citizens face when dealing with public notary offices.

"Lawyers and citizens complain of rampant corruption, extortion and maltreatment in these offices, and the result is that 95 of Egypt's real estate wealth has not yet been officially registered," said Abdel-Aal, also urging the government to reduce documentation fees to encourage citizens to register their private properties.

Abdel-Aal's words also came amid renewed reports that a cabinet reshuffle is imminent. Many MPs have told reporters in recent days that they know from insider sources that a cabinet reshuffle is imminent.

Other MPs, however, claim that a cabinet reshuffle is not in the cards right now, and that it could be declared only following the end of the third World Youth Forum scheduled in Sharm El-Sheikh city between14 and 17 December.

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