Experts to review Duqm land scam



Muscat: The judge at the Muscat Appeal Court yesterday referred the issue of irregularities, allegedly committed by officials accused of abusing their power while distributing plots in the wilayat of Duqm, to three experts, including an engineer, for a review and double checking of all the charges.

The court will hear the three experts on January 13 to apprise itself of the legality of the transactions executed by the three accused after the prosecution charged them with abusing their power. The officials on trial include a former secretary of the Ministry of Housing, the secretary-general of the dissolved Supreme Committee for Town Planning, and officials from the Ministry of Housing.

The court's ruling came after the accused officials were found having granted a commercial and residential land plot exceeding 110,000 square metres to a former housing minister in the wilayat of Bausher. The accused officials extended the land plot by 10,000 square metres, and provided all necessary facilities like roads and parking lots. Later, the plot of land was resumed as per a Royal order in view of the irregularities.

Instead of a 1,000-square-metre plot in the wilayat of Bausher, the land area was increased to 2,000 square metres, by the employees at the Ministry of Housing. This plot was granted to the secretary-general of the dissolved Supreme Committee for Town Planning.

The Public Prosecution once again appealed for penalising the accused, saying they had abused their power and misappropriated the state's properties.

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