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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Men cleared of bribing customs inspector to release seized sandalwood

The men were accused of offering Dh600,000 to a customs inspector in exchange for the seized containers

Seven men accused of offering Dh600,000 to a customs inspector to release six containers of banned sandalwood seized at Jebel Ali Port were all cleared of charges by Dubai Criminal Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors charged a 26-year-old unemployed Emirati with mediating after he approached the inspector with the money was due to pocket Dh100,000 for his alleged part in the bribery.

A Syrian manager, 29 was charged with offering the bribe.

Five other men, of Emirati, Egyptian, Indian and Yemeni origin, and aged between 27 and 53, were all charged with aiding and abetting.

Records show that the manager worked in shipments clearance and showed interest in trying to sell the seized sandalwood, which was imported from India.

In October last year, the customs inspector reported being contacted by the unemployed Emirati and offered Dh100,000 in return for each container he released.

“He told me that he has a friend who wants the six containers of sandalwood to pass inspection and that I will be made happy. When I asked him what he meant by that, he said that each container equals Dh100,000,”he said.

He said the Syrian manager also called him and said other customs employees would settle for less than Dh600,000. The seven men were cleared of all charges.