Egypt issues law barring challenges to state deals

CAIRO Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:50pm EDT

Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour attends the 25th Arab Summit in Kuwait City, March 25, 2014. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour attends the 25th Arab Summit in Kuwait City, March 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour on Tuesday approved a law that would restrict the right to challenge state business and real estate deals to only the government, its involved institutes and business partners, a presidency statement said.

The law, long-waited by businessmen and investors, is meant, according to the presidential statement, to boost business in Egypt, badly hit since a 2011 uprising toppled autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

"The right to contest the state deals has to be from one of the state's parties...or the contracted with entities," the presidential statement said.

Many state-land and business deals were revoked after they were taken to court by uninvolved persons, which harmed business confidence in the Arab world's biggest state.

The cabinet had approved a draft for the law earlier this month.

Since the 2011 revolt, Egyptian courts have issued at least 11 rulings ordering the state to reverse deals signed by former administrations.

The lawsuits were mostly brought by activists and lawyers who allege that companies were sold off too cheaply in deals that were representative of corrupt business practices during the 30-year Mubarak rule.

Gulf Arab businessmen have repeatedly cited a lack of guarantees that their money will be safe in Egypt as a reason for holding back investment.

Although the new law is expected to remove legal hurdles, investors say they still seek to see political stability before they decide to put in more cash into one of the Arab world's biggest economies.

(Reporting and writing by Yasmine Saleh, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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