x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Ex-minister's trial ruled not constitutional

The trial of a former labour minister accused of wrongly directing more than Dh450million of public funds to his ministry is unconstitutional, a court says.

ABU DHABI // The trial of a former labour minister accused of wrongly directing more than Dh450million of public funds to his ministry is unconstitutional, a court has decided.

The Constitutional Court said on Wednesday that to put ministers and top federal officials on trial, there had to be a request by the supreme council.

No such order had been issued and as there was no article in UAE law regarding putting ministers on trial, the trial must be unconstitutional.

Advice from the Constitutional Court was sought by the Federal Court, which is yet to announce its own decision in the case.

In 2005, the former minister decided that study certificates should be accredited through Emirates Post, rather than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The decision resulted in the imposition of a Dh500 fee payable to the labour ministry for each certificate.

Prosecutors said the introduction of this fee needed cabinet approval, which it did not have, so the funds - a total of Dh450,480,155 - were therefore not properly the labour ministry's

Prosecutors said the decision meant that funds belonging to the foreign ministry were funnelled to the labour ministry.

The general manager of Emirates Post is one of five other defendants in the case.

hdajani@thenational.ae