Customs inspector offered Dh600,000 bribe to allow banned red sandal wood into UAE, Dubai court hears

The banned sandalwood was being brought from India.

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DUBAI/ / A jobless man is accused of trying to arrange for a Dh600,000 bribe to be paid to a customs inspector in return for releasing six containers of banned red sandalwood.

The 26-year-old Emirati denied a charge of mediating the bribe at Dubai Criminal Court while a Syrian, 29, denied a charge of offering a bribe. Five other men, two Yemenis, an Egyptian, an Emirati, and an Indian were all charged with aiding and abetting, which they also denied.

The incident happened between October 10 and 27 last year.

A 25-year-old Emirati customs inspector said he was contacted by his compatriot.

“He told me that he has a friend who wants six containers of sandal wood to pass inspection and that I will be made happy. When I asked him what he meant by that, he said that each container equals Dh100,000.”

The inspector added that the banned sandal wood was being brought from India.

“He told me that his friend has another container coming from China containing some other banned items and would want me to help in return for Dh50,000,” said the inspector who reported the matter.

Police kept the men under surveillance and recorded calls between the inspector and the Syrian regarding the bribe.

The defendants were arrested during a sting operation on October 29 last year while they were sat in the inspector’s car. Police found documents related to the containers in the car.

The next hearing will be on September 28.