Judicial board says TMG's land is legal, court postpones ruling

Ahmed Feteha, Tuesday 21 Jun 2011

The administrative court delays deciding the fate of Talaat Mostafa Group's Madinaty land till October, in light of a new judicial report stating the land was acquired legally

Egypt's administrative court postponed the case to scrap sale of state land to real estate developer Talaat Mostafa group on Tuesday as a report was issued by a judicial board supported the legitimacy of the sale.

The judge stated that the ruling was postponed to 4 October in order to grant lawyers who filed the case a chance to review the board's report, according to news agencies.

Despite its weight, the judicial board's recommendation is not binding for the court.

"There have been numerous cases in the past, especially in elections, where courts ruled against the recommendations of judicial boards. These recommendations are for guidance purposes only," Hassan Youssef, lawyer and coordinator for the Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights (ECHR), told Ahram Online

TMG's $3 billion Madinaty project, which constitutes the bulk of its land bank, has been at the centre of a dispute since September 2010, when a court upheld a ruling that scrapped the sale of state land to TMG because it was not publicly auctioned.

Thousands of TMG's workers, as well as unit owners in the project, gathered Tuesday morning in front of the court to protest the court case, while a few hundred were present to support it.

Hamdy El-Fakharny, one of those filing the case, said the court responded to the pressure of the crowds gathered in front of it.

"The court was under pressure, so it took this decision," El-Fakharny said.

El-Fakharany, a contractor who took it upon himself to return state lands he claims were acquired illegally by businessmen, believes that his case will only be won if there's enough popular support to back it.

"Such court decisions make me feel that corruption is still alive, even after Mubarak left," he said.

TMG's shares in the Egyptian stock exchange rose by 2.18 per cent following the news, despite the decline of the bourse's main index.



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