x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Policeman who promoted himself blames hacker

An appeals court hearing in the case of a police officer accused of illegally promoting himself.

ABU DHABI // A former policeman convicted of illegally promoting himself from sergeant to major told an appeals court yesterday that someone else hacked into the Ministry of Interior's system to make the changes.

AJ, an Emirati who worked in the IT department at the Ministry of Interior, is serving a one-year jail term for the crime. He was also ordered to pay restitution and a fine of Dh273,000 at his original trial.

In 1999, AJ went from being a police sergeant to working as a civilian at the ministry because he was unfit to fill a military post. But records show he was suddenly promoted to captain. The promotion appeared to have been ordered by the Brigadier General through his internet account.

Eight months later, another promotion made AJ a major. The ministry's human resources department became suspicious as such a jump can only be achieved after four years of service.

In the Court of Appeal yesterday, AJ denied the charges, saying he had been surprised at the promotion.

When he questioned his superiors about it, he was told not to "kick away the blessing", he said. He said he had assumed it was connected to the bachelor's degree he earned in 2005.

He said he had no idea who had hacked into the system.

His lawyer, Fayza Moussa, said that messages between directors and staff at the ministry were sent through an internal system that every employee could access.

"Therefore, the ruling that was issued through the Brigadier General in charge was through a hacking into his internet account," she said. "So there was someone who held a grudge against the defendant and wanted to harm him, so he did this to get him arrested as he is the only beneficiary of this act."

IT experts testified that there was no way of knowing who had hacked the system.

The case was adjourned until January 4.

hdajani@thenational.ae