By Elizabeth Broomhall
Ruling that found chairman Hussain Habib Sajwani guilty of corruption is “politically motivated”
Dubai developer Damac Properties said it will fight the conviction of its chairman Hussain Habib Sajwani in Cairo on corruption charges, branding the ruling “politically motivated”.
Sajwani was one of two businessmen found guilty of buying tracts of public land in Egypt’s Red Sea province below their market value from Egypt's former tourism minister Zoheir Garranah.
Alongside Garranah and another businessman, Hisham Al Hazeq, Sajwani was sentenced ‘in absentia’ on Monday to five years’ jail, a fine of $45m and ordered to return the land to the government.
Damac said the charges, which result from a 2006 deal to purchase 30 million sq m of land along Egypt’s Red Sea coast, form part of a “campaign of persecution” against those who conducted business with the former Mubarak government.
The company said it will contest the charges by filing a case at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an independent body set up to solve investment disputes.
“As the prosecution and conviction of Mr Sajwani were totally improper, the sentence, fine, order to return the Gamsha Bay land to the State and Interpol arrest request constitute a breach of the bilateral investment treaty between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, whose purpose is to protect investments of UAE investors in Egypt,” Damac said in an emailed statement.
“There was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Mr Sajwani.”
Garranah is the second member of former President Hosni Mubarak's cabinet to be jailed for financial misconduct, after a widespread political uprising ousted the leader from power.
Former interior minister Habib el-Adli was last week jailed for 12 years on charges of money laundering and profiteering.
Army generals who took control from Mubarak are under pressure to take a hard line against high-level corruption and show they are forging political change before an election for a new parliament in September.
Egypt's public prosecutor extended Mubarak's detention by 15 days on Tuesday as an investigation continued into abuse of public funds and the killing of protesters.
Damac has paid for a development which will never be completed and lost all its money...............
Sounds like a familiar situation thousands of Damac investors like me still face.......
Damac said it will contest the charges by filing a case at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an independent body set up to solve investment disputes.
Can Damac's investors go through the same body to get their money back?
Karma seems to have a nice ring about it