ABU DHABI // A police translator who took money in return for promising to help a man to avoid prosecution was sentenced yesterday to six months in jail and a Dh1,000 fine.
LIT, from Malaysia, a Chinese language interpreter for Abu Dhabi Police, was convicted by the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance of taking a bribe and abusing his job as a translator. He will be deported after serving his sentence.
Prosecutors said LIT told people facing criminal charges that, for cash, he could help them during interrogation or court proceedings.
He was accused of taking $2,000 (Dh7,345) from a Chinese man, QJM, who was also sentenced to three months in jail for bribery.
Both men had pleaded not guilty. Only LIT, who said he had not asked for or received money and offered only to find QJM a lawyer, had been free on bail.
Prosecutors said the translator spoke to QJM while he was waiting to be questioned by a police officer, and met him later in the police station bathroom, where the cash was exchanged. A policeman told prosecutors he pushed open the bathroom door as QJM was giving the money to LIT, and saw the handover.
LIT claimed he had offered only to help in finding a lawyer and did not know QJM had put money into his pocket.
"I did not know," he said. "I was rushing to the bathroom and I crashed into him. He probably put the money in my pocket at that point."
He added he offered to help QJM and another, female, suspect, because he thought they did not know how to find a "good" lawyer.
QJM denied offering a bribe to the translator. He said the $2,000 was meant for lawyer's fees and the translator's help.
Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Baseer told QJM the police officer found $900 in the translator's pocket, and confiscated it, but had been unable to find the remaining cash.
"Where is the other $1,100?" the judge asked. LIT replied that he did not know.