Adwea insurance chief's trial is delayed

A former ADWEA worker is accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dirhams.

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ABU DHABI // The former head of insurance at the electricity and water regulator, who is accused of embezzling about Dh300 million, has had her trial delayed by a month after defence witnesses missed a hearing on Monday.

In the hearing at the Criminal Court of First Instance, the judge also found some case documents had not yet been translated.

The Emirati woman, MGH, is charged with forgery and acquiring illicit profits for herself and others through her position as the head of the insurance department for the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea).

Prosecutors say she awarded contracts worth Dh297m to her private company and other insurance companies in exchange for bribes over 10 years.

Others charged with corruption-related offences include three Jordanian men - AI, MI and MMI - and an Egyptian man, TZ.

At a previous hearing, a representative from Adwea asked for Dh200,000 in initial damages from the five and from three companies that won contracts.

Lawyers said that during investigations, prosecutors found MGH had Dh100m in her bank accounts. They ordered a freeze on her assets and those of MMI, whose assets were also frozen in Jordan through Interpol, the court had heard.

MGH said she had not used her influence to award herself any contracts, nor did she accept any high commissions for awarding contracts or forge any documents.

Nine lawyers have been appointed for her defence, including Sameh Ashour, the former chairman of the Egyptian Bar Association who travelled from Egypt to represent MGH.

The case was filed by the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority. Officials declined to say how they found out about the alleged offences.

Lawyers previously asked that reporters be banned from the trial, but Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Baseer rejected the request.

The next hearing is scheduled for September 12.