FNC member alleges Justice Ministry interfered in cases

ABU DHABI // An FNC member has accused the Ministry of Justice of interfering in cases by ordering certain criminal cases to be dropped, including allegations of fraud and defamation. Mohammed al Zaabi, a representative from Sharjah, told yesterday's FNC meeting in the capital that he had obtained documents signed by ministry officials that ordered the withdrawal of criminal cases - in effect, dropping the charges. He claimed the documents showed that they were to be treated instead as administrative cases.

Mr al Zaabi has accused the ministry of tolerating irregularities in the past. In January, he presented what he claimed was evidence of corruption in the federal judiciary. That case involved a defendant who he said had been able to flee the country despite being on trial. Mr al Zaabi presented a document that he said showed that someone other than the Sharjah Public Prosecutor had signed an annulment of the arrest warrant for the suspect.

But the Minister of Justice, Dr Hadef al Dhahiri, insisted the judicial system was designed to curb internal corruption. Yesterday, Mr al Zaabi reeled off the details of a number of criminal cases, including alleged fraud and defamation. The minister refused to comment, saying he could not discuss ongoing cases. Mr al Zaabi claimed the minister was personally aware of the cases. "The signature of the Public Prosecutor and the director of inspection is on the withdrawn cases and the he [Mr al Dhahiri] knows about them," he said.

The FNC enjoys limited parliamentary powers, including discussing and passing laws drafted by federal ministries. Its members are allowed under the Constitution to lodge questions with government officials, including ministers. It does not, however, have the power to hold federal officials accountable. @Email:mhabboush@thenational.ae