x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Translator ‘took bribes to get accused off charges’

Police interpreter tells court he was helping to find lawyer, after prosecutors claim he took bribes from suspects, claiming he could help them to avoid charges.

ABU DHABI // A police translator took money from suspects, claiming he could help them to avoid charges, prosecutors told a court.

LIT, from Malaysia, who translates for Chinese speakers, appeared before Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance this week, charged with taking a bribe and abusing his job as a translator.

Prosecutors said he told suspects he could help them during interrogations and court proceedings.

LIT denies a charge of taking $2,000 (Dh7,300) from a Chinese man, QJM.

A female suspect, who was not charged in the same case, also told police he offered to help her if she gave him money.

LIT said he had not received any money from QJM, and only offered to help him find a lawyer.

QJM was being held in police custody for a different charge, the court heard.

Prosecutors said the translator spoke with QJM while the suspect was waiting for a police officer to question him.

He also spoke with a woman, who was waiting in the hall outside the interrogation room, but she did not agree to give him any money. LIT and QJM then met in the police station's bathroom, where the money was allegedly handed to the translator.

A policeman claimed he pushed open the bathroom door as QJM was giving the money to LIT, and saw the handover.

The translator said he was unaware that QJM put the money into his pocket

"I did not know," he said. "I was rushing to the bathroom and I crashed into him. He probably put the money [in my pocket] at that point."

He said he offered to help the suspects because he thought they did not know the process of hiring a "good" lawyer.

He said he was surprised when he left the bathroom and saw the policeman approach him and ask him about the money .

"He told me it was in my pocket and I searched in my left pocket and in my right pocket and I could not find anything," LIT told the court.

The policeman found the money in LIT's back pocket, the court heard.

QJM denied having offered a bribe to the translator, instead saying he gave LIT $2,000 to hire a good lawyer for him. He said the money was meant for attorney's fees and commission for the translator, for his help.

He said he gave the money to the translator "hand to hand" inside the bathroom, that the two made the deal in the interrogation room, and that they decided to make the handover in the bathroom.

Asked if the money was to help him "get out of the case" or to help him find a lawyer, QJM said it was the latter.

LIT was released on bail. The judge will hear the case for the defence on Monday.