Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Jail and fine for Dubai Lagoons' former CEO

Jail and fine for "A.M." the former CEO of Lagoons.  The Lagoon site languishes on the outskirts of Dubai surrounded by huge hordings that were once covered with colourful pictures of the proposed site and the lifestyle it offered.  Most of the large posters have now gone, removed by wind, sand and sun, while the tattered remains of others cling to the boards.
Source: Gulf News
Picture: Sama website

The former CEO of Lagoons, a Sama Dubai project, faces three years in jail after the Dubai Appeals Court scrapped his acquittal of committing financial irregularities yesterday.
Presiding Judge Mustafa Al Shennawi on Tuesday convicted the 43-year-old Emirati former CEO, A.M., of abusing his duty as a public servant and accepting bribe. He will be jailed for three years and has been fined Dh2.89 million and ordered to repay the same amount (the bribe amount) to Lagoons.
The Appeals Court overturned A.M.'s primary judgment, who had been pronounced innocent by the Dubai Court of First Instance in July last year.
Al Shennawi also sentenced Lagoon's former executives, 42-year-old Emirati M.M., his 23-year-old compatriot N.Q. and 28-year-old M.S. (who doesn't carry documents), to three years in jail each. They were also slapped a joint fine of Dh4.8 million and ordered to repay the amount to Lagoons.
M.M., Lagoon's former sales manager, M.S., the ex-sales executive, and Damac's former property development director, 32-year-old Syrian, A.H., will each spend a year in jail after the court convicted them of exchanging bribe worth Dh650,000. The Appeals Court ordered slapped them a joint fine of Dh650,000. Al Shennawi acquitted A.H. of aiding and abetting M.A. and M.S. collect a bribe worth Dh2.3 million over a three-land deal.
Moreover, the appeals court confirmed the acquittal of M.A. and N.Q. of revealing the company's secrets by providing an investment house with details about their clients, as well as information and prices of properties owned by Sama Dubai.
Defence lawyers are expected to appeal yesterday's judgment before the Cassation Court within 30 days.
At an earlier hearing, a prosecutor submitted an official letter stating that the funds of Sama Dubai are public and informed the Dubai Appeals Court that five executives of the company charged with financial irregularities are in fact public servants.
"We received an official letter from the Financial Control Department [FCD] at the Rulers Court confirming that the funds of Sama Dubai and Lagoons are public and that their employees are public servants," said the Public Prosecution's representative when he handed FCD's letter to Al Shennawi.
The five executives had earlier pleaded not guilty and refuted their charges.
According to the charges sheet, prosecutors had charged M.A., N.Q. and M.S. with taking Dh4.8 million in bribe against unlawfully selling/reselling lands belonging to Sama Dubai.
Lagoons' former CEO was charged with breaching his duties by requesting from one of his company's clients, five apartments worth Dh2.7 million and a cash sum of Dh200,000 in bribe against failing to preserve the rights of Sama Dubai and causing it to incur a loss of Dh137 million.
The Public Prosecution charged A.M. with preventing Sama Dubai from gaining a Dh4.6 million in ownership transfer fees.
A.H. was accused of accepting Dh650,000 in bribes from M.A. and M.S. and aiding and abetting them. M.A. and M.S. were charged with aiding and abetting A.H. in committing the bribe crime.
An Egyptian financial controller, from Dubai Government's Financial Control Department, testified that A.M., when he was Lagoons' former chief executive, should have preserved the company's rights and increased its earnings. "He caused Sama Dubai to incur a purported loss of Dh137 million," claimed the Egyptian.
An Emirati senior executive from Sama Dubai testified that A.M. failed to take the proper action against the company which was late in paying the instalments of certain properties.

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