Former Lebanonese PM Claims Solidere Misappropriated Land
Former Lebanese prime minister Salim Hoss urged the government on Friday to probe allegations that Solidere, the company now rebuilding Beirut, misappropriated 24,000 square meters of public property in the Beirut Central District, according to the Daily Star newspaper.
"The Cabinet endorsed, in its May 24, 2001 session, the Beirut Central District's master plan, which shows where the private and public properties were," Hoss said in a statement issued on Friday. "But eight ministers declined to endorse the plan," he said, cited by the paper.
Hoss added that after inquiring into the issue and the reservations expressed by those ministers, "it was established that the master plan set the private properties at 701,000 square meters," a figure which included "24,000 square meters which were still under litigation."
"Some people said this land did not belong to Solidere since the government had expropriated it on more than one occasion since 1972," Hoss said.
He subsequently called on the government to resolve the issue by “asking the state's Financial Inspection Section and Auditing Department to study the issue and determine the rightful owner of the contested land, Solidere or the state.”
Solidaire, the largest private company in Lebanon, recently recorded a first-ever net loss of $31.8 million in 2000, a result it attributed to the blockage of construction permits, the withdrawal of pledged investments, and the postponement of outstanding payments to the company.
Net revenues from land and real estate sales fell to $3.4 million in 2000 from $16 million the year before.
The company made net profits of $3.7 million in 1999, $54 million in 1998 and $78 million in 1997 – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)