CAIRO: Egypt’s government has withdrawn 2,100 hectares of land from some of the country’s leading businessmen because they failed to develop it, a minister who heads a committee investigating failures in industry said on Sunday.
The land was "given to investors through contracts signed in 1996 in which it was indicated that it is essential that investments be carried out there within 10 years," Electricity Minister Hassan Younes told reporters.
The land to the northwest of the Suez Canal was withdrawn from businessmen including steel magnate Ahmed Ezz, a former senior official in the party of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, and telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Challenges to sales of state land during Mubarak’s three-decade tenure sparked the worse crisis in years for Egypt’s real estate industry before his removal from power sent the wider economy into a tailspin.
Sawiris could immediately be reached for comment. Ezz is currently in prison after being sentenced in March for squandering of public funds.