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Editorial: Ensuring social justice
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 07 - 10 - 2011

CAIRO - Instead of always complaining about the economic hardships, the sharp budget deficit and lack of financial resources, the Government should resort to the law to get very rich business people to hand over the fortunes they made illegally under Mubarak's corrupt regime.
It could start with the property tycoons who violated their land reclamation contracts, making billions out of the luxurious housing compounds they built on land they purchased for peanuts.
According to the contracts, they were only meant to build on just 2 per cent of this land and cultivate the rest.
“If the tycoons built on more than 2 per cent, they were supposed to be fined,” says Ali Ismail, the new executive director of the Agricultural Development Authority.
Most of the desert roads now have housing compounds built beside them, on land that was meant to be reclaimed.
The violators were meant to pay almost LE1.5 million per feddan; if they had done so, the Treasury would have made about LE40 billion, greatly reducing the Government's huge budget deficit.
This money could also have funded the pay rise proposed for civil servants, putting an end to the constant strikes.
Most importantly, this money would be the first step in ensuring social justice, retrieving some of the fortunes illegally made by certain tycoons under the previous regime, thereby benefiting the national economy and helping to stabilise the country.
It would also save the Government having to slap extra taxes on the rich, something some parties believe would discourage investments.

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