x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Dubai fraud trial runs into a case of mistaken identity

Key witness shares a name with one of his employees who was summoned to attend a court hearing.

DUBAI // Mohammed Mustafa must have been surprised to receive a summons from prosecutors. True, he is employed by the Dubai Financial Department, the unit investigating alleged corruption in the emirate, but it is his ultimate boss, Mohammed Mustafa Hussein, who is likely to be a key witness in a series of multimillion-dirham fraud trials. However, last week Mr Hussain was fined Dh1,000 (US$270) after failing to appear at the Dh44 million (US$12m) fraud trial of the former chief executive of the home finance company Tamweel.

A hearing yesterday uncovered a possible reason for his non-appearance. Although it was not clear where last week's subpoena was sent, the witness summoned to court yesterday was not Mr Hussein, but his similarly named employee. Dutifully, Mr Mustafa arrived. Duly, he said he simply worked at the department and knew nothing about the case, in which the accused are the former head of Tamweel, AS, a 38-year-old Emirati; his deputy AN, 44; its Jordanian former investment chief, FK, 28; the Jordanian former board chairman, AA, 33; and the former executive director, SA, 40, an Emirati.

And duly, Judge Fahmy Mounir Fahmy adjourned the trial until October 25, for the prosecutor's office to subpoena the right person. amustafa@thenational.ae