Egypt Watch

17 people seize state-owned land worth $29bn

Documents issued by the Public Funds Prosecution Office in Egypt revealed a major corruption case, in which 17 people seized 500 large state-owned land plots, over 11 years, at a value of EGP 459 billion ($29 billion). The case includes six senior officials, five businesspeople, and six lawyers. In contrast, the defendants’ lawyers say that security and military leaders are among the accused in the case. Still, the apparent complicity of the relevant authorities and the investigation authorities prevented referring them to trial. Case No. 5322, for the year 2020 was registered under No. 94 of 2020, the investigation of higher public funds.

According to the case papers, the gang continued to carry out its criminal activity in seizing state lands through forged documents, cases, and rulings, over 11 years, from 2009 to 2020. According to the prosecution’s investigations, the accused relied on implementing their plan on three senior officials from the prominent employees of the Badrashin Court (south of Cairo), where their mission, along with many other defendants, was to falsify lawsuits, session records, and fictitious reconciliation records with the state. The defendants falsified the signatures of members of the State Litigations Commission claiming their recognition of the state’s reconciliation with the case’s parties to form gangs and gain access to the territories.

On the other hand, the lawyers of a number of the defendants in the case revealed that their clients referred to trial are “scapegoats” for senior state officials, security, and military leaders. They seized state land and took it without being accused in the case. They emphasised that they had a set of documents and recordings that reveal the involvement of senior state officials and significant security and military leaders who have seized the state’s land themselves. They also revealed that they have prepared these documents and recordings and will present them in the first hearing of the case, scheduled for the coming days.