The newly-formed Investment Disputes Settlement Committee (IDSC), chaired by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, is studying ways of retrieving land acquired illegally by various companies during the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak.
The committee is currently studying legal issues concerning 40 domestic and foreign agricultural, real estate, and investment companies, who acquired lands via auctions and tenders in violation of the law, according to an official government source on Monday.
The source explained that, in anticipation of some companies resorting to international arbitration, the committee would focus on conflicts with Arab and foreign companies to determine the government’s legal position. Companies expected to resort to international arbitration include DAMAC, al-Dhahira, al-Rajhi and the Egyptian Kuwaiti Holding Company.
Meanwhile, Mustafa Madbouli, head of the Urban Planning Authority and a member of the IDSC, said the Housing Ministry would help the committee and government agencies to resolve the Egyptian Kuwaiti Company for Land Reclamation’s dispute over a 26,000-acre area of land in Ayat.
A number of Arab companies have welcomed the committee since its formation. Hani Sarie Eddin, a lawyer for the al-Futtaim Group, said the committee was formed at an appropriate time to deal with difficult issues, which if left without legal solutions would negatively affect investments in Egypt.
Ashraf Abushady, the executive director at the Park Avenue Real Estate Development Company, a subsidiary of DAMAC Properties Egypt, said the only way for the government to resolve conflicts with investors would be to negotiate with them.