Ex-employee 'took bribes for licences'

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Hani Bathish DUBAI// A former employee at the Department of Economic Development (DED) pleaded not guilty yesterday to accepting Dh400,000 (US$109,000) in bribes to issue trade licences to companies without security approvals or bank guarantees. The Emirati, identified as SK, also denied to the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance that he had forged electronic documents. He appeared in the dock with an Egyptian and two Iranians who allegedly acted as go-betweens between SK and businesses seeking the licences issued by the DED, which helps regulate and organise industry in the emirate. The three co-defendants also pleaded not guilty.

The officer in charge of the case told prosecutors that the Egyptian, identified as MA, told him he met the civil servant through a mutual aquaintance at the DED, and was told that SK could help expedite official procedures. Prosecutors said the Emirati admitted receiving Dh400,000 and that he received the payments from MA outside DED premises. The civil servant is also accused of forging electronic documents by assigning an identification number from an approved application for a trade licence to one that had been rejected for security reasons.

All the defendants are next due to appear before the court on Oct 28. hbathish@thenational.ae