File - Minister Ali Hasan Khalil speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Fifty-five civil servants are being investigated for corruption as part of a widespread crackdown on dishonest real estate dealings, including the theft of public property and embezzlement, Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil said Monday.Khalil's crackdown tackles the almost taken-for-granted practices of public sector employees, primarily surveyors, accepting bribes to speed up paperwork and estimate property at a lower price or at a larger size, which at times extends to public property.Khalil said that many citizens took advantage of the 2006 war in Lebanon to identify and register property in their names, most of which were state-owned.
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