Egypt court sets date for TMG Madinaty challenge

An Egyptian court will hear a lawsuit on 9 November challenging a government plan to end a row over Talaat Moustafa's (TMG) Madinaty project, a court said on Monday, a fresh twist to a dispute that has rattled property investors.

TMG's flagship Madinaty development has been mired in a legal row since a court in June said the contract for the sale of state land for the scheme was illegal.  

The cabinet approved a plan to scrap that contract, but said it would reallocate the land to the firm under the same terms based on its right to act in the national interest.

A new contract between the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), a housing ministry body, and TMG is yet to be signed.

Shares in TMG, Egypt's biggest listed developer, have risen and fallen with each turn of the case and the row has rattled investors who fear any more court challenges could hurt other developers that bought land from the state.

The court said it would hear on 9 November the case brought by Essam Ali Abdel Halim, an independent lawyer, that challenges the cabinet's decision to offer the Madinaty land back to TMG.

"The government's decision is invalid, that is regardless of whether the new contract they sign is valid or not, because the government's decision itself violates the law and seeks to manipulate the court ruling," Abdel Halim said by telephone.

The lawyer also filed another suit demanding the government cancel the sales since 1998 of all state land not sold by auction.  

The legal advisor to Talaat Moustafa Shawky el-Sayed dismissed the case, saying the cabinet's decision was legal and TMG expected to sign the new contract within a week.

"The cabinet's decision is 100 percent fair and accurate," the advisor said, adding that the new contract was being reviewed and drafted by a panel of legal experts.  

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