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Restitution not crippling debt
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 04 - 09 - 2012

AT a time when the Government is struggling to obtain a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Funds (IMF), voices are being raised opposing this loan, which would increase the burden on the Egyptian economy. Further, they are asking why the Government is not pursuing other ways to raise such funds.
The people are questioning the need to seek this finance from the IMF with its stringent conditions, when the Government could speedily find the same sum by taking the necessary procedures to retrieve the massive funds members of the toppled regime illegally gained and deposited abroad.
Most important are the huge possessions of the Mubaraks, as well as other members of the ousted regime, who are standing trial and even being found guilty of corruption. The State has every right to confiscate the property of those corrupt officials, as well as that of their families.
During the 18-month transitional phase, the investigative authorities uncovered vast corruption in the Mubarak regime and the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP), revealing their vast illicit gains. This unjustified laxity in retrieving the stolen funds deposited in foreign banks and in uncovering the huge amount of property owned by these people has triggered public anger against the Government, because the citizens have suffered for many years. Things have got even worse since January 2011.
What could one expect from impoverished citizens on reading the report recently presented by Judge Asem el-Gohari, head of the Ill-gotten Gains Agency? It refers to the huge wealth of Safwat el-Sharif, the former NDP Secretary General, which he acquired illegally, amounting to LE29 billion in the form of investments and property in Egypt and Britain.
The least the Egyptians are expecting from Hisham Qandil's Government, president Mohamed Morsi's first is to rapidly restore the looted funds from these corrupt officials and use them to boost the economy, creating some giant development projects with the highest returns for the economy and improving the people's living conditions, instead of seeking more foreign loans.

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