By: Lamia Nabil
Chairman of Ebda (the Egyptian Business Development Association) and Muslim Brotherhood member Hassan Malek said during a press conference yesterday that “mechanisms are currently in place to effect reconciliation with former regime businessmen who have currently absconded abroad” adding that “this does not need a new law nor any legislative amendments”.
He added that there are other governmental institutions such as the Ministry of Investment and the public fund prosecution which already have mechanisms in place to aid this reconciliation.
Malek also confirmed that former regime businessmen Yassin Mansour and Hafez El Shishti “will, God-willing, return to Egypt”.
“Don’t worry about this,” he added, reiterating that both will indeed return to the country.
Former Palm Hills chairman Mansour was accused of buying land illegally on the cheap, only to sell it later at inflated prices.
Both are currently in London.
“It’s a positive decision,” said to Mohamed Maher, vice president of Prime Holding, commenting on the efforts. “It would lend some sort of economic stability, on the other hand, a sign of good intentions which will effect positively on the development of the national economy and make it more attractive for foreign investment” He added.
Managing Director of IDT Consulting and Information Systems Mohamed Saeed said that the reconciliation is absolutely imperative to recover “looted funds”. Saeed added that all the government’s previous statements denying reconciliation with former regime businessmen were, simply, an attempt to placate the Egyptian street”. Saeed also expected that the current government would complete reconciliation with all former regime businessmen including those accused of illegally procuring profits.
Chairman of the Arab Private Equity Association (APEA) Hany Tawfik said that reconciliation must be effected according to a specific law for general amnesty , one which specifies conditions that will work on the basis of reconciliation.
Tawfik also mentioned that there is a difference between those already convicted (and who will thus be difficult to reconcile with) and those who are simply “fugitive businessmen” accused of graft cases and other financial issues that can still be resolved.
Tawfik added that “much more important than reconciliation with former regime businessmen, is the establishment a general climate conducive to national and foreign investment alike, and to determine the economic policies to be followed by Egypt to resolve the current crisis, as well as “the recovery of the State’s prestige”.
He concluded: “The only way that reconciliation with former regime businessmen will really work is if Hassan Malek travels abroad and sits them [the businessmen] all down together with him in an ‘Arab-style gathering.’”