x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Fraud investigator implicated in appeal of record fine

Dubai court hears that case against a former DIB chief executive and Deyaar board member as well as another man was based on "distorted" statements from an auditor.

DUBAI // A top fraud investigator was accused in court yesterday of forging statements to build a case against a businessman convicted of taking a bribe.

The former DIB chief executive and Deyaar board member SA, an Emirati, was charged by Dubai Public Prosecution in April last year with requesting and accepting the Dh11.75 million bribe.

He and another Emirati, IJ, were also charged with dealing in unlawful commissions worth Dh16m.

The case was built by public prosecutors and Mohammed Mustafa Hussien, an investigator with the Dubai Government Financial Audit Department.

In March this year, the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance found SA guilty and sentenced him to three years in prison and a Dh115m fine, the largest imposed by a Dubai court in a fraud case. IJ was acquitted.

SA's lawyer, Dr Habib al Mulla, told the Dubai Court of Appeals yesterday that the investigator had forged evidence from an internal auditor to build his case.  

Dr al Mulla said Mr Hussien had claimed in his report to prosecutors that, based on evidence from its internal auditor, IJ's company had filed false reports to cover up the Dh11.75m bribe.

A letter was presented to the court from the auditor, claiming that his evidence had been distorted and providing a full account of what he had actually said.

Dr al Mulla also said documents had been provided by a court-appointed auditor proving that the Dh11.75m had been paid in a legitimate land sale between SA and IJ.

Dr al Mulla also argued that the judgment issued against his client was unlawful because the lower court had amended the charges against him, and then ruled against him based on these amendments. 

"These charges have not been officially presented in an amended charge sheet by public prosecutors, which makes them unlawful.   

"SA was convicted as a public official, but the court has been provided letters from His Highness's Rulers Court that explicitly state he was not, and categorically say that during his tenure at Deyaar and DIB he was not a government employee."

Judge Mahmood al Shinawi and his panel will issue their verdict on December 1.