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Egypt: Interior ministry, sovereign fund spar over prison land ownership

Watch towers at Tora prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo. [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]
Watch towers at Tora prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo 15 September 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]

Officials at the Egyptian Sovereign Fund and the Ministry of the Interior are in dispute over land belonging to prisons which are no longer in use in the country, a researcher at a state-run research centre revealed yesterday.

As the army expands its hold over the Egyptian economy, the interior ministry has been seeking to take advantage of the vast land on which a number of old, derelict prisons are located.

In October, the ministry said it would close 12 prisons, most were in high-value residential areas. The facilities' list included prisons in the provinces of Cairo, Banha, Alexandria, Tanta, Mansoura, Shebin El-Koum, Zagazig, Old Damanhour, Beheira and Minya.

An official at one of the prisons' administrations told local media that the ministry's plan was to divide the land between the sovereign fund and another investment company,

The source added that the move had come as the Egyptian government has called on ministries to manage their own expenses, prompting the interior ministry to raise fees for its services, including car licensing, driving licences and fees for obtaining various certificates.

READ: Egypt releases 3 prominent political prisoners. What about the 65,000 others?

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