Thursday, 24 April 2014

Egypt: New law to protect officials from prosecution

The interim president Adly Mansour has issued a decree that will make it more difficult for third parties to challenge contracts signed with the government. It would make impossible the kind of challenge that led to the prosecution of ministers from the Mubarak era and other senior officials for selling off state property cheaply to developers in exchange for favours.

The government says the new protections are aimed at encouraging foreign investment.  The review of contracts immediately after the fall of the Mubarak regime led to uncertainty among investors, especially from the Gulf who had invested in real estate developments. The lack of security for investments did much to dampen enthusiasm for more investment.

Critics say it marks a return to the old ways and that officials will be able to act corruptly with impunity.  Abdullah Bin Mahfouz, Chairman of the Saudi Egyptian Business Council, welcomed the new law: "I'm sure that due to this law we will see an inflow of investment no less than US$15 billion in the next three years because there are huge opportunities in steel and mining and factories that are considered the biggest in the Middle East."

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.
© 2014 Menas Associates

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