CAIRO: Egypt’s General Prosecutor dropped an investigation filed by 45 parliament members over a state land sale between a former housing minister and Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG), the ex-minister’s lawyer said on Sunday.
The investigation started earlier this year after the former housing minister Ibrahim Suliman was accused of violations in a series of state land sales.
The members of parliament accused the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), a body under the housing ministry, of wasting public money when it sold the flagship Madinaty project to TGM during Suliman’s tenure.
"The investigation has proved the allegation is not correct," the lawyer Gameel Said said. "The deal has brought the government a value equal to LE 13 billion ($2.28 billion)."
The amount equals the sum booked by NUCA in relation to the Madinaty sale.
TMG was the biggest gainer on Egypt’s benchmark share index on Sunday, rising 3.2 percent. The index was up 0.1 percent.
"The General Prosecutor’s decision is a strong support for the Madinaty land deal and is a very important clue that the price of the deal was fair at the time it was conducted," said Nader Khedr, an investment and capital market analyst.
TMG is still waiting for an Egyptian court to rule on Sept. 14 on a separate appeal by an Egyptian citizen who accused NUCA of breaking the law by selling the Madinaty land directly to TMG instead of opening it up to bidding.
"The two cases are separate and … we still cannot expect what the court ruling will be. We will have to wait and see," said Khedr. He said that meant it was too early to firmly recommend buying or selling TMG stock.
TMG is Egypt’s biggest listed developer and Madinaty is one of its main projects. The site will include homes, schools, hotels and a golf course on 8,000 feddans (8,304 acres) of land on Cairo’s outskirts.
Suliman is still under investigation by the General Prosecutor over several other land sales.