x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Man accused of forgery over shark fins

A former Ministry of Environment and Fisheries employee tried to illegally import 500 kilograms of shark fins for use as an organic aphrodisiac, a court has heard.

DUBAI // A former Ministry of Environment and Fisheries employee tried to illegally import 500 kilograms of shark fins for use as an organic aphrodisiac, a court heard yesterday.

The defendant, ME, 28, was charged at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance with forgery of a Ministry of Environment and Fisheries permit, allowing him to import the fins.

The fins, according to records, were to be imported from Oman to the UAE. The UAE controls shark finning, which has drawn criticism from environmentalists worldwide.

The Ministry requires special permits to import the fins from abroad.

According to public prosecution records, ME used his ministry contacts and acquaintances to gain access to the Ministry's letterhead, permit formats and stamps without the acquaintances' knowledge.

An Indian computer programmer at the ministry, HA, 35, told prosecutors that on June 22, ME asked for permission to use a computer at his office, which he granted.

"ME used a flash disk and printed some Arabic text on to headed paper that he placed on the printer, then left," H A said.

The document turned out to be a template for a permit to import the fins.

Yesterday, ME denied the charges. Court will reconvene on December 23.

 

amustafa@thenational.ae