Egyptian land deals: plus ça change

(Le Monde diplomatique) --
By Nizar Manek, 17 March 2014
As Egypt’s popular uprising broke out three years ago, the crony capitalism of Hosni Mubarak’s regime came into the crosshairs. One grievance was against the willingness of the regime to directly allocate land at undervalued prices — sometimes at a dollar a square-metre, or less — to the real estate companies of its inner circle of politically-connected businessmen and the investment funds associated with them.
“It was a real problem that a small number of businessmen were able to buy large bundles of land at a time with no scrutiny over bids and tenders,” says Shehata Mohamed Shehata of the Egyptian Centre for Integrity and Transparency, a Cairo-based lawyer who has brought several post-Mubarak cases of alleged corruption to Egypt’s courts.
(1,500 words)