CAIRO: The Arab Center for Integrity and Transparency decided to appeal an unconstitutional law, approved by interim President Adly Mansour to immunize State contracts with investors from a third party litigation, Director Shehata Mohamed revealed Tuesday.
Mansour approved the controversial law on April 22, which received widespread criticism and aroused concerns on grounds that only an elected parliament may issue such a decision and that it “protects investors at the expense of citizens.”
“We will file an appeal to the law before the Administrative Judiciary Court. We see this law as a legalization of corruption, waste of public funds, and a gift for businessmen of the Mubarak era,” Mohamed told The Cairo Post in a phone conversation.
A number of NGOs, activists, and rights groups decided to appeal the new law, finding no difference between this law and the constitutional decree issued by the ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, which granted him absolute power and aroused public anger against his rule.
Last week, the Court of Administrative Judiciary approved another request to appeal the presidential decree filed by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) challenge.
“There is a fierce attack from businessmen in the media, threatening to destroy investment for the sake of some beneficiaries,” Head of ECESR Khaled Ali sad, according to Youm7.
The government said the law is intended to spur investors and ease their concerns over legal challenges, which may hinder their businesses in Egypt.
Minister of Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said in an interview on Mehwar Channel last week that “appealing state administrative contracts has devastating effects on Egypt’s economy and investment environment.”
“Egypt will face a dramatic budget deficit if international arbitration accepted the claims of investors’ suing the state for compensation,” Abdel Nour said.
Talaat Moustafa Group lawyer Shawqy el-Sayed told The Cairo Post that the new law enhances confidence in government contracts and will encourage businessmen to inject new investments in Egypt.
Defending the new law, Sayed noted that “it will prevent those of personal gains from misusing the litigation right, which dramatically harmed confidence in the successive governments with many court rulings nullifying government contracts.”
The Supreme Administrative Court previously nullified several government contracts, such as exporting natural gas at a price lower than the market’s in 2012 and selling the Sukkari gold mine in the Southern Eastern Desert in 2013.
Sayed ruled out approving the appeal requests, reiterating the law is “constitutional” and has been revised by the State Council.
The new investment law deprives the State Council, to which the Supreme Administrative Court belongs among other prestigious courts, from combating corruption during his pleading before the State Council against the privatization of Nubaseed for seed production Saturday, Youm7 quoted head of ECESR.
Sherif Abdelrahman, an official at Pioneers Holding, said the new law will spur investment but that the government should have stated guarantees to avoid corruption of contracts before being signed between the government and investors.
“As investors, we back the new law but we need assurances of valid contracts to avoid legal challenges and appeal cases,” Abdelrahman told The Cairo Post on the sidelines of IPO Egypt conference held in Cairo Tuesday.