The Development Bank and Supporting the Poor

Farmer Ismail Saleh Mohamed El Sisi has presented a complaint to the LCHR, stating that he has possession over 8 feddans of land in Toson – Ismaileya that he had bought with all of his life savings. In 1987, K.F.W a German grant was given to the bank for development and agrarian trust, so that it could provide farmers with loans that are to be paid back with 7% as interests. But the bank gave it to the farmers with 19% interests. This man took a loan of 39 thousand pounds from the bank. In the agrarian season 1994 – 1995, this farmer wasn’t able to farm his land, although all of the production requirements were available, as he was sick and had to have an operation that left him with diabetes and hypertension, leading to difficult social, health and financial conditions, which made him unable to payback his debt.


After one year, he went to the bank to settle his debt. He asked to check his account and found out that he is indebted with a sum of 63 thousand pounds, which mean that the interest has become 125%. He got angry, and they told him at the bank that if he didn’t pay, they will imprison him using the blank checks he signed.


The farmers presented complaints to the Prime Minister, members of the People’s Assembly and several newspapers, but these complaints were transferred to the bank, and the bank said that it doesn’t have problem to tabulate the farmer’s debt that has reached 180 thousand pounds.


The farmers presented a complaint to the Presidency on 29/6/2005. the Presidency’s chairman of the board of the public relations transferred the complaint to the Minister of Agriculture who has replied on 9/10/2005, stating that the bank is willing to provide the farmer with all possible facilitations in order to payback his debt of 222 thousand pounds to the bank. Meaning that the interest has reached 600%. So what facilitations are they talking about? The farmer said that selling his land and house won’t be enough to payback this debt.


The bank presented the blank checks to the courts filing several lawsuits against the farmer. The sentences of these lawsuits have reached a total of 32 years, which mean that the farmer will be in prison for the rest of his life, considering that he is 60 years old.


The LCHR has filed lawsuit no. 1290/2006 for this farmer before Ismaileya Court that had a session on 19/11/2006. LCHR stated that demanding the farmer with such amounts of money is illegal, because the loan contract didn’t have basic data and information, like the percentage of the interest, the periods and deadline for paying the installments, the value of the fine and interests for the delay and the value of the administrative expenses.


The LCHR asserts the importance of the interference of the President to stop the imprisonment of the farmers, amend the bank’s policies to protect farmers interests.


LCHR asks the President to stop the imprisonment decisions issued against Ismail Saleh and take the necessary legal procedures against the bank’s chairman of the board for not implementing the President’s decision concerning the tabulation of farmers debts for 10 years without any interests.


LCHR also calls all CSOs to unite n solidarity with the tens of thousands of farmers who cannot payback their debts, in order to cancel these debts and stop their imprisonment, as a guarantee to their right to a safe and decent living.


For more information, please contact the Center.


Address: 122 el Gala’a st-Ramsis Tower-Cairo

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