Traffic official 'made Dh700,000' from registration scam

His lawyer protests that nobody was harmed

Abu Dhabi // A Traffic Department employee charged motorists with heavy vehicles Dh1,000 to renew their registration - then registered them as light vehicles and pocketed the Dh900 difference, prosecutors said yesterday. N B appeared yesterday before the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance charged with obtaining money illegally. He pleaded not guilty.

N B's job involved entering data for motorists renewing their vehicle registration. The yearly renewal fees for heavy vehicles, such as lorries and buses, is Dh1,000. Renewing a light vehicle, such as a private car, costs Dh100. Prosecutors said NB charged motorists with heavy vehicles Dh1,000, but classified the vehicle as light and took the Dh900 difference. He obtained Dh699,000 from the scheme, they said.

N B, an Emirati, told the court that all applicants received receipts and valid renewal cards. He asked the court to release him because all the victims forfeited their legal rights against him. "Why is he still in prison when the company that lodged a complaint against him dropped their complaint later on?" asked N B's lawyer. "None of the applicants was harmed; they all received their renewal cards."

Chief Justice Saeed Abdul Baseer replied: "It is not about the applicants or the company. This is the Government's money and he took it illegally." The judge adjourned the case to allow N B's lawyer to negotiate the matter with the Traffic Department. The next court date is set for October 5.