Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 March 2018

Man who bribed passport officer so he could travel to see dying son to spend three months in jail

The man had been banned from travelling after a cheque he wrote bounced

A businessman who bribed a passport officer to overlook his travel ban so he could fly Beirut to provide bone marrow for his son’s cancer treatment was sentenced to three months in jail.

The Emirati passport officer, however, was sentenced to one year in jail and fined Dh120,000.

Dubai Criminal Court convicted the officer of accepting bribes and the businessman — whose age was not disclosed in court records — of offering bribes.

Records show that the businessman was banned from travelling outside the country because he was involved in a bounced cheque case.

His lawyer told the court that the cheque bounced because his client had no money left after he paid the bribe and after he borrowed a large amount of money to cover the costs of his son’s treatment.

The Palestinian man said he was contacted by his nine-year-old son’s doctors in Lebanon who told him he was the only matching donor for a bone marrow transplant.

“He had no other option, and he admits to every word in the charges sheet, but we can clearly see a lack of criminal intent in this case,” the lawyer said, arguing that the UAE penal code spares punishment if a crime is committed without criminal intent.

The man paid a Dh60,000 bribe in September last year to travel for the procedure and another Dh60,000 in October.

“It failed and my son died but at least I managed to see him before he died,” the businessman told judges.

A police lieutenant said the two defendants were arrested after surveillance cameras recorded the employee taking a bribe from the businessman in a plastic bag.