The former President cancelled the sale of “Amoun Island” presuming it is a “village” overlooking Nasser Lake and not an island in the Nile
“Al Masry Al Youm” obtained the complete details of the truth about Tout Amoun Village Project in Aswan, which was submitted to Public Prosecution a few days earlier by the Defense Attorneys on behalf of the former Minister of Housing Ahmed El Maghrabi, who is currently in custody for cases of illicit gains and expropriation of public funds. The documents revealed a surprise indicating the mistake made by the former President, Hosny Mubarak, in the presidential decree he issued cancelling the sale of Amoun Island, which is a totally different location than the mentioned project being a village overlooking Nasser Lake under the name of Tout Amoun while there is another island in Aswan with the name Amoun which was falsely rumored to be the location subject of argument.
The documents mentioned that the beginning of the project started about 80 years ago by Misr-Aswan Company which was a private sector company of several authorities including the Urban Communities Authority and 7% private sector companies contribution. The company decided to commence a touristic project on Nasser Lake and obtained 200 feddan 22KM North the High Dam from the Nasser Lake Authority which was affiliated to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development at the time.
The documents further revealed that the plot chosen had no linking road therefore the Company decided to buy another 38 feddan to construct an artery road to connect the Village and the road leading to Aswan Airport and the total area of the land became 238 feddan. The project was finalized in 1985 after implementing the swimming pools and a center on the lakeside. In 1995 the Company decided to suspend the complete project after losing more than 80% of its capital due to its failure in managing and investing the project. After ten years, specifically in 2005, the Company decided to sell the Village after such loss.
The documents also indicated that the Company decided to assign real estate appraisers to estimate the highest value of the village and the estimation was determined at 65 million EGP. On January 13th, 2007, an extraordinary general assembly was convened to approve the sale and several companies including “Amoun Island Real Estate and Touristic Developments” – which was under contraction – made offers. At the time, the procedures of the Ministry of Investment allowed the offers of companies under construction until the registration of the company. The aforementioned company purchased the Village in consideration of 90 million EGP, 30% of which to be paid as advance payment in addition to the pricing, estimation, marketing and promotion expenses, provided that a two-year grace period is granted to prepare the Village to be operative again and the remaining amount to be paid over two years after the grace period.
It was pointed out by the documents that the Company did not submit the check for the fixed advance payment and the legal advisor of Misr-Aswan confirmed that they are in a commitment phase not a negotiation phase and served several notices upon the purchasing company including a notice rescinding the contract in March 2007. The general assembly of Misr-Aswan then resolved a new auction on the project.
It was confirmed by the documents that the delegates of the Central Auditing Organization supervising sale transactions thanked the Company for its efforts and whishing its success, which disaffirms the statements made by Dr. Gawdat AL Malt – Chairman of the Organization – when he confirmed at one of the sessions of the People’s Assembly that the Organization totally objected to the sale transaction.
The documents clarified that 3 companies made a purchasing proposal, the highest of which was by Palm Hills in addition to the fact that it made three financial proposals and not only one, as the first proposal was payment in cash of an amount of 80 million EGP, which is economically better than the offer made Amoun Island Company, though it was 10 million EGP less because the latter was planning to pay over 4 years including a two-year grace period. The second proposal was at the same amount offered by Amoun Island Company at 90 million EGP to be paid over one year. The third proposal was at 100 million EGP to be paid over 1.5 years.
The documents further indicated that approximately 12.5 million EGP were paid and the remainder amount was to be paid at signature of the contract. At the commencement of the procedures, Palm Hills was surprised to know that the 38 feddan area of the road were never registered by the mother company, which led Palm Hills to refuse payment until the registration of such area is finalized. A general assembly was convened in April 2008, at which Palm Hills refused to pay the remainder amount until the registration is finalized. At the same time, Amoun Island company filed a case claiming its entitlement to the Village due to the fact that it did not recover the first amount of approximately 4.5 million EGP paid thereby in consideration of marketing and estimation. The first hearing was in favor of Amoun Island Company and the mother company filed an appeal until last June where former Parliament Member Hisham Mostafa Khalil submitted a cognizance request at the People’s Assembly about the truth of the former Minister Ahmed El Maghrabi’s appropriation of the Village – which he confirmed to be an island in the Nile – in the name of Palm Hills Company.
“Al Masry Al Youm” was advised by well-informed sources that the former president, Hosny Mubarak, issued a presidential decree suspending the sale of Amoun Island and offering it for usufruct for 49 years, due to the significance of its location as he was told by some people. It was pointed out by a major official at the time, that former president was not aware that it was only a village and not an island. The sources further added that El Maghrabi tried to submit his resignation at that time after he appeared before the public opinion as “a thief by a presidential decree”, however the official declined such resignation saying “you want to embarrass us before the presidency”, and afterwards permitted him to talk to the press about the project after approximately 3 weeks.