x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Former Deyaar chief to testify in appeal

Court will allow testimony on behalf of a board member sentenced to jail and massive fine in bribery case.

DUBAI // The Dubai Court of Appeals will allow testimony from a former chief executive of the property developer Deyaar to be presented in a bribery case after a lower court had refused to hear from him. ZS will testify in the case involving the former Deyaar board member SA, who was sentenced by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance to three years in jail and a record Dh115.8 million (US$31.5m) fine. ZS is facing charges in four other cases involving administrative fraud, bribery and embezzlement. He is currently in custody.

Habib al Mulla, SA's defence lawyer, told the appeals court the lower court had not reviewed a handwritten auditor's report from an independent company. A request to present the representative of the Dubai Government's Financial Audit Department for questioning was granted. Mr al Mulla also claimed the decision to sentence SA as a public official was based on the Egyptian penal code, which is similar to the UAE's. He said being a public official had been addressed through a letter issued by the Dubai Ruler's Royal Court which claimed SA was not a public official.

SA, 40, an Emirati, was charged last April with accepting a Dh11.7m bribe to facilitate the sale of a property in Dubai as well as with collecting unlawful commissions in return for facilitating the sale to another Emirati, IJ. The two were also charged with dealing in unlawful commissions worth Dh16m. IJ was acquitted in March. SA denied the charges before the Dubai Court of Appeals last month. The appellate court panel adjourned the case to June 1.