An announcement of a new law to return land and buildings seized by the Qaddafi regime to the original landowners is . . .[restrict]to be made “within weeks”, a member of the Land Ownership Committee is reported as saying.
“Phase one will return unused lands, empty shops, buildings and villas taken by Qaddafi’s regime and then by the rebels to the rightful owners,” said Fawzy Shebani, legal representative for the committee, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
“This will mean millions of dinars can be invested in construction projects and provide employment.”
Issues or ownership are dogging development in Libya. Vast numbers of properties were seized by the Qaddafi regime and many were later earmarked for development. These are now being claimed piecemeal by the former owners. The legal arguments could last for years and freeze such projects.
Some Libyans have already had their properties returned under a legal process in fact started before the Qaddafi regime fell. Others have simply taken them over since then.
There are instances of some people exploiting the present situation to claim property to which they have no right. One businessman told Libya Herald this week that the grandchildren of the man from whom he bought his house in the 1980s are now refusing to recognize the documented sale and are demanding it back on the basis that anything that happened during the Qaddafi era was illegal.
Similarly, signs have recently appeared in the Christian cemetery in Tripoli claiming the land belongs to a particular family despite the fact that that it has been there for 90 years and was recognized as a cemetery during the time of King Idris.
Government officials have told Libya Herald that in cases where properties are non-residential or not part of a larger development project, they will handed back. Otherwise, former owners will be compensated at today’s prices. [/restrict]