x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Passport officer denies accepting bribes to help illegal residents flee the country, Dubai court hears

The man, who works at Dubai International Airport, was also charged with giving away classified information, Dubai Criminal Court heard.

DUBAI // A passport control officer accepted about Dh100,000 in bribes from illegal residents to help them leave the country without being arrested, a court heard on Monday.

Emirati A A, 26, also forged documents on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (DNRD) system by paying off exit fees, Dubai Criminal Court was told.

The man, who works at Dubai International Airport, was also charged with giving away classified information.

Three men, Emirati S S, 37, Indian S A, 28 and Egyptian Y A, 29 are all charged with aiding and abetting A A. All four defendants denied the charges.

One of the people A A allegedly helped exit the country is a Filipina wanted for absconding from her sponsor, whom A A helped take a flight using the passport of another woman.

“I did not take any money and I don’t even know this Filipino woman they are talking about,” A A said.

However, prosecutors said they confessed during interrogation to the incidents that took place between March and June last year.

“He had been working with the DNRD since 2007 and after receiving some complaints, an informant helped find out that A A was involved,” said T J, head of the control and inspection section.

He added that A A’s responsibilities included checking the status of passengers and finding out whether they were wanted for any legal issues.

“We recorded a phone call between our informant and the defendant S A regarding helping an illegal resident leave the country without being arrested. After which our informant handed the defendant a copy of the man’s passport and, three days later, S A told our informant that the passport control officer agreed to do the job,” said T J.

The defendants were arrested in a sting operation on June 29 last year.

Prosecutors presented to court 425 recordings of phone conversations between the defendants.

The next hearing was set for June 23.

salamir@thenational.ae