x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Police chief's warning after officer is charged in bribe case

Police corpora appears in court charged with accepting a bribe from an inmate to smuggle drugs into jail.

DUBAI // The emirate's deputy police chief warned yesterday that "nobody is above the law" after an officer appeared in court charged with accepting a bribe from an inmate to smuggle drugs into jail. Speaking after yesterday's hearing at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance, Major General Khamis Matar al Mezeina, the Deputy Commander in Chief at Dubai Police, said officers were subject to the same laws as everyone else.

"Nobody is above the law and we will not cover up for members of the police force who violate the laws. "Our task is to protect society. Holding officers accountable for their wrongdoings is vital for the success of this mission." At yesterday's hearing it was alleged the defendant, MS, 23, a police corporal who works in the surveillance section of the Dubai Central Jail, provided a prisoner, MK, with an unidentified substance wrapped in plastic.

Police said MS was initially charged with drug possession and aiding and abetting a crime. However, prosecutors have only charged the defendant with accepting a bribe, which MS denies. The accused was arrested on May 4 and detained at the Lahbab police station for questioning. Police officers told prosecutors that last February, the corporal was met by the inmate's chauffeur who gave him the parcel and Dh2,000.

According to prosecutors, MS told police investigators he did not know what was in the package. The court heard a guard at the prison told the officers: "MS worked in the surveillance room and has the opportunity to meet with any inmate in jail. His job, though, was not to hand any inmate any item or pick up any item from outside the correctional facility." Prosecutors say MS initially confessed to accepting the bribe.

The case was adjourned to next month. In a separate case this month, an officer was jailed for six months by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance after he admitted driving two unmarked police cars without permission and unlawfully obtaining petrol. Prosecutors charged the Bangladeshi corporal, AA, with abusing his duty and with illegally using prepaid petrol cards belonging to Dubai Police. In another case, heard last month, an Emirati policewoman was acquitted of charges of abuse of authority and of embezzling Dh12,000.

The Dubai Criminal Court said the officer was acquitted because prosecutors failed to corroborate evidence they used against her. Yesterday, Major Ahmed al Mansouri, the director of the grievance court at Dubai Police, which looks into civil complaints against the police, said 304 cases were investigated in the first nine months of this year. He said just 48 were upheld. "The violations investigated range from delays in providing services, [and] refusing to carry out duties without a valid reason, to more serious acts such as mistreating members of the public," he said.

Among those found to be in breach of the force's regulations were "policemen and administrative people". He added that "disciplinary action has been taken against all of them". Punishments, he said, ranged from "a warning to transfer to another job". @Email:amustafa@thenational.ae * With additional reporting by Wafa Issa