Emirati woman's jail term upheld but Syrian defendant involved in case pardoned after turning whistleblower
Former DP World manager must pay Dh5 million fine over bribe plot
A former DP World manager who sought bribes from two companies in exchange for helping them win lucrative construction projects has had her 18-month jail term upheld – and been told she must still pay a fine of nearly Dh5 million.
The 29-year-old Emirati, who was a senior manager at the port operator at the time of her crime, was convicted of seeking bribes last November and has now been ordered to see out her sentence by Dubai Court of Appeal.
The defendant, who no longer works for DP World, demanded a Dh4,350,000 payment from the 49-year-old Jordanian manager of one company to help him win a bid at Jebel Ali Court.
She also asked for a Dh500,00 bribe from a 59-year-old Egyptian man to help his construction company secure a villa building project in Jumeirah Heights.
Both construction company managers were also jailed for a year, with each fined the respective sums they were offering as a pay-off.
A Lebanese man was also sentenced to three months in jail at the time for aiding and abetting the Emirati manager.
A Syrian woman, aged 54, who was jailed for a year for money laundering, was granted a pardon by the appeal court after turning whistleblower.
Her lawyer, Faisal Al Zarooni, said that the appeals court pardoned his client from the penalty because her testimony was taken twice by prosecutors, once as a witness – when the incident was reported to authorities – and another time as a defendant.
“The appeals court pardoned her in order to be able to use her testimony as a witness to convict the other defendants in this case. They can't use her own testimony as a witness to convict her, but they can use it to convict the others,” said Mr Al Zarooni.
More from court:
The crimes occurred between 2012 and 2014 and were reported to 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 plot and later wore a wire to gather evidence against them.
She said she did not know how the DP World director managed to help the companies enter the bids, since they were not registered contractors with DP World. She said she saw the Emirati defendant tell each company 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.
The consulting company received more than Dh2m 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 cafe on Sheikh Zayed Road.
“I received Dh175,000 and was never paid the Dh550,000 remaining from my share,” said the Syrian.