The first session appealing the 32/2014 Investment Law, which prevents third parties from challenging contracts between the government and investors or entities, is scheduled to be on Sunday, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) said on Saturday.
ECESR mentioned in a recent report that the case was filed to the Constitutional Court in July, stressing that the new law is protecting “corrupt government contracts”.
The report said that the law, which was issued by former interim president Adly Mansour in April, also prevents challenges to decisions regarding the privatisation of real estate, “thus the law will lead to the squandering of citizens’ and workers’ rights to address suspicions of corruption in those contracts under the cover of the law,” it said.
After the application of the law, appeals against old and new investment contracts signed by the government will not be possible.
The new law, expected to be effective before the end of 2014, is comprised of two articles; the first states the inadmissibility of appeals against investment contracts except by the state and the investor, and the second article stipulates the cancellation of outstanding appeals.
The ECESR said that their appeal consists of nine constitutional challenges against the law; including the absence of valid reason for passing the law, violating various articles of the 2014 Constitution, infringing on the rights of workers, and limiting the appeals to the administrative courts in the event of criminal litigation against one of the two parties, the investor and the government.
The report stated that workers previously filed appeals attempting to revoke sales and privatisation contracts for some companies, citing corruption, such as the legal challenges to privatisation cases including Omar Effendi, Tanta Linen, Shebin Textiles, and Nile for Cotton Ginning companies.
Several court verdicts to halt the privatisation of some public companies were issued after the 25 January Revolution, which later caused problems to foreign investors, especially Saudi investors, who had their projects stalled. Some companies subsequently sought compensation from the state.
The Egypt government is targeting $10bn in foreign direct investment (FDI) by the end of fiscal year 2014/2015, according to Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman. In a move designed to lure investment, the cabinet agreed in September to activate the law of local product preference to support the industrial sector.