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Suspect questioned over missing consulate funds

Police investigation reveals the driver had a previous one-month conviction in relation to an unpaid bank loan.

DUBAI // Dubai Police have taken a Philippines Consulate driver into custody for questioning after Dh100,000 (US$27,000) was stolen from the consulate last Friday, sources at the consulate said. The man was detained after being investigated by the Public Prosecutor, they said. The money, in cash and cheques paid for consular services such as passport renewals, issuing of affidavits and certificates, was stolen from a safe in the finance officer's office. The official's passport was also stolen. The sources said police detained the driver after learning that he had a previous one-month conviction in relation to an unpaid bank loan. It was not known whether he was being held at Dubai Police headquarters or at another police station in Al Ghusais, near the consulate. The finance officer and another driver have also been questioned about the burglary, the sources said. The burglary was discovered on Saturday evening, according to Benito Valeriano, the Philippine consul general in Dubai. He declined to comment, but expressed confidence that the "perpetrators will be arrested and brought to justice". An official at the department of foreign affairs in Manila said it had instructed the consulate in Dubai to ensure the burglary did not adversely affect its duties. "The department of foreign affairs views with concern the burglary incident at the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai," Claro Cristobal, a spokesman said in an official e-mail. "Investigations are being undertaken both internally and in close co-ordination with the relevant concerned authorities in Dubai," he said. "The department hopes that the investigations will be completed speedily and result in a full appreciation of the case for justice to be served and similar incidents avoided in the future." @email:rruiz@thenational.ae

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