x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Immigration officers jailed for issuing forged visas

Two immigration officers who issued 55 forged visas in exchange for Dh75,000 are jailed for two years.

ABU DHABI // Two immigration officers who issued forged visas to 21 people who had failed security checks in exchange for Dh75,000 were yesterday sentenced to two years in prison and fined Dh100,000 each.

However, the State Security Court cleared a third officer with a military rank who worked for the Naturalisation and Residency department in Ajman.

Also jailed were two men and two women who worked for private typing centres processing the department's documents. They were sentenced to one year in jail followed by deportation.

Twenty three others were cleared. Of these, 21 had received visas but were unaware a forgery had taken place and the other two, who were typing centre employees, were also unaware of the crime.

The case was dubbed the "Spider's Web" by Ajman police who initially arrested 36 people, 30 of who were put on trial.

The 21 who acquired the visas were from various Arab and Asian countries. They had previously had their applications rejected by National Security.

The court heard that following their rejections they had all paid visa offices in their home countries to try again, believing they were making lawful applications.

The two immigration officers would then apply for visas in their names, but list them as Bengali citizens. Once the visa approval was issued they would then re-enter the system and change the nationality.

They were charged with forging 55 visas. It was not clear if all these related to the 21 who were cleared.

hdajani@thenational.ae