CAIRO: Parliament speaker Ahmed Fathy Sorour rejected a request by Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and independent MPs to carry out an investigation into alleged violations by current and past ministers in cabinet.
Twenty-five MPs, including 20 MB members and five independents, demanded an investigation into what they claim are instances of abuse of power and squandering public money.
“Souror resorted to a vote which was in the ruling party’s favor since they make up the majority in parliament,” MB Farid Ismail, who championed the request, told Daily News Egypt.
Earlier this week, MPs called on Sorour to look into a report drafted by the MB bloc that alleges that ministers and key figures in government acquired state land for reduced prices.
Ismail said that he presented Sorour with contracts and financial transactions that account for the violations, and that “most of them are commissioned by National Democratic Party members.”
According to former head of the MB bloc Hussein Ibrahim, the report details "unconstitutional purchases."
Ibrahim said that the contracts name a number of officials, including Minister of Housing Ahmed El-Maghraby.
“We have been working on drafting this document for the past five years. We are just practicing our monitoring and legislative role.
“No one can deny what happened; I can prove it with official documents,” added Ismail.
Among the independent MPs who supported the report were Khaled Aboud and Gamal Zahran.
The first dispute is over Mango Land island in Aswan which MPs claim was purchased by a cabinet minister who built a seafood restaurant on it.
MPs further condemned the selling of Amoun, another island in the same southern governorate, to real estate giant Palm Hills for LE 80 per meter, at a total cost of LE 80 million for the 238-acre piece of land.
Palm Hills is owned by former Transport Minister and businessman Mohamed Mansour, and El-Maghraby.
However, President Hosni Mubarak called off the acquisition of Amoun and ordered a public auction for the island on BOT basis, according to local news.
Meanwhile, independent daily Al-Shorouk reported Tuesday that lawyer Samir Sabry filed a case to the Administrative Court urging President Hosni Mubarak to remove El-Maghraby and to force Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif to reveal the names of officials involved in "stealing government-owned land or acquiring it for reduced prices."
Amoun is said to be one of Aswan’s most beautiful islands with a stunning view of the city.
Furthermore, among the disputed pieces of land is Al-Ayyat, a 26,000-acre plot which was purchased by an Egyptian-Kuwaiti firm for LE 200 per acre.
According to Ismail, the company put it on the market through the Kuwaiti stock exchange, selling each meter at LE 1,000.
“This case alone amounts to about LE 100 billion,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Atef Ebeid and former Giza governor are held accountable for Al-Ayyat, according to the report.
MPs also accused Nasr City for Housing and Development Company of selling 20,000 meters in a prominent area overlooking El Nasr Road to Arab International Medical Company in July 26, 2007.
In addition, the report accused ministers and key government figures who built mansions along the Cairo-Alexandria highway on agricultural land they bought for reduced prices.