x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Jail sentence upheld for Adwea insurance chief who embezzled Dh300m

Appeals Court upholds jail sentence for the former insurance chief of the water and electricity regulator, but clears three others.

ABU DHABI // An appeals court yesterday upheld a three-year jail sentence for a former insurance chief at the water and electricity regulator who embezzled almost Dh300 million.

MGH, an Emirati woman, was found guilty of forgery and acquiring illicit profits for herself and others through her position at the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea). The Criminal Court of First Instance found that over 10 years, she awarded contracts worth Dh297m to her own company, which provides insurance services, and took kickbacks on other contracts. In addition to the jail sentence, she was ordered to return the Dh297m and pay the same amount as a fine.

The Abu Dhabi Appeals Court upheld that verdict and the three-month sentence followed by deportation that was given to MI, a Jordanian who worked under her at both Adwea and her own company, who was accused of helping her to forge a certificate to settle the contracts.

However, three men who worked for two insurance companies said to have bribed the woman - AI and MMI, both Jordanians and TZ, an Egyptian - had their six-month jail sentences overturned.

The appeals court granted the woman bail of Dh200 million while she was undergoing trial. However, she was unable to pay this amount and remained in prison throughout.

She told a previous appeal court hearing that there was no insurance section when she joined Adwea in 1999 and that she had managed to recoup Dh400m for the company by chasing up companies with outstanding bills and fines.

This encouraged her to create her own insurance company, she said, adding that she had gained the authority's approval first. "And for the past 10 years the files are being opened and renewed in an organised way," she said.