x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Emirati travel ban mix-ups due to 'bad implementation'

FNC member suggests that bans be linked to ID cards.

ABU DHABI // The Justice Minister faced questions from the FNC yesterday about Emiratis being prevented from leaving the country due to warrants against their namesakes.

"People have lost money because of such actions and mistakes," said Mussabah Al Kitbi (Sharjah). "What details are provided to the Ministry of Interior that cause this?" The minister, Hadif Al Dhaheri, said travel bans had to be imposed by a judge and required paperwork, including a passport copy.

"Some mistakes do happen," he said. "The laws and guidelines are there but are carried out wrongly."

Mr Al Dhaheri said bans were ordered by the Ministry of Justice and executed by the Ministry of Interior. He admitted mix-ups happened "due to bad implementation".

Mr Al Kitbi highlighted cases of Emiratis being wrongly stopped.

"Any cases involving less than Dh10,000 you cannot be banned, but I know at least one Emirati who got a travel ban for being in debt for Dh3,500," he said.

There were also incidents of people being stopped at the airport despite having settled their debts.

Mr Al Kitbi suggested that bans be linked to ID cards. "The head of the Emirates ID Authority confirmed that if travel bans were done using the Emirates ID as reference, there could be no mix-ups."

A legal fix was passed in 2007, requiring court cases to be linked to identity documents, but it has yet be implemented.

Mr Al Dhaheri pledged his ministry would contact the Emirates ID Authority and promised that remaining cases would be dealt with.