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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Ex-Dubai port company manager on trial accused of cash for contracts

Prosecutors claim suspects helped companies to win tenders 

A former senior manager at the port operator DP World is accused of asking for Dh4,800,000 million in bribes from two companies, in exchange for helping them to win two major construction projects, a court has heard.

Dubai Criminal Court was told by prosecutors that a 29-year-old defendant, an Emirati woman, demanded Dh500,000 from the manager of a construction company in return for granting his company a project to construct a villa in Jumeirah Heights.

The woman, who court documents stated is no longer an employee of the port company, is also charged with seeking a Dh4,350,000-bribe from the manager of a second company in return for helping him win a bid at Jebel Ali Port.

The construction company managers, one an Egyptian, 59 and the other a Jordanian, 49 are charged with offering the bribes.

A Syrian woman, 54, who also worked at DP World, and a Lebanese man, 55 are charged with aiding and abetting the main defendant.

The Syrian woman, Jordanian and Lebanese defendants are additionally charged with forgery and use of a forged document, which helped facilitate the scheme of winning the bid for for the port project.

The Emirati and four of the defendants are also charged with money laundering the bribe cash through another company owned by Lebanese defendant.

Prosecutors said the alleged crimes happened between 2012 and 2014 and were reported to the authorities by the Syrian DP World employee, after she was not paid her full share of the cash.

“After she helped the two companies enter the bids with DP World, she asked me to contact the managers of the companies and ask each to wire her Dh500,000,” said the Syrian in her testimony. She went to the authorities about the scam and later wore a wire to gather evidence against them.

She added that she was not aware how the DP World director managed to help the companies enter the bids, since they were nor registered contractors with DP World, testified that she witnessed as the main defendant directed each company about what prices they should list in their tender bids.

“In order to make sure that she gets her share, she had an engineering consultations company owned by her friend, the Lebanese defendant, sign separate contracts with both companies stating that if they won the bids, they are to pay the consultations company a percentage of the total amount of the project they won,” said the Syrian woman adding that the percentage was decided by the Emirati woman herself.

The consulting company received more than two million after the two bidders won.

“Then the Emirati received her share of the instalments from the consultations company, sometimes in cash at her sister’s home or in a café on Sheikh Zayed Road. I received Dh175,000 and was never paid the Dh550,000 remaining from my share,” said the Syrian.

The Emirati denied the accusations and said that the Syrian co-worker that later shopped her to the authorities was the one who introduced the two bidders.

“We met in mid-March, I got arrested,” said the Emirati who denied all charges on Monday morning.

The Lebanese defendant was also present and denied all charges while the rest of the defendants did not show up in court.

The next hearing will be on August 28.

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