Corruption probe needs to be widened, says senior exec

EXCLUSIVE: Dubai Properties deputy CEO calls for crackdown to include abuse of power.
Corruption probe needs to be widened, says senior exec
By Tom Arnold
Sun 07 Sep 2008 03:33 PM

A senior executive at a master developer in Dubai has called for the government crackdown on corporate corruption to be extended to root out abuse of power and bad management practices.

Yaqoob Al Zarooni, deputy chief executive officer of state-owned Dubai Properties, said he welcomed the pledge by Dubai’s Public Prosecutor to take strict and prompt action against any corruption and bribery among employees of listed and public companies.

However, he insisted the investigations should go further to uncover cases of managers abusing their positions of power and those whose flawed decision-making cost their firm money.

“I do encourage what is happening in Dubai with the crackdown. But the next step for Dubai is to look after abuse of empowerment and bad management because that’s costing Dubai and other organisations a lot.”

Al Zarooni said he believed firms should be subject to external audits by the authorities to ensure they complied with regulations on management practices.

“If I’m a bad manager I will abuse my powers to my benefit and bad management is when I make calls that are not the right ones and cost the organisation big amounts of money and effort,” he said.

“In many organisations it happens and is governed by the corporate governance of the corporation and by its policies and procedures but you would like to take it out.

“It happens in Dubai and elsewhere in the world but in Dubai as we would like the city to be the best it should not only be the corruption we look at. We should look at abuse of power and bad management - it is about making sure we have the right people in the right place.”

His comments follow the questioning of several senior executives at a number of high-profile Dubai real estate companies on suspicion of exploiting their positions to make illegal profits.

Al Zarooni said he fully backed the ongoing anti-corruption drive.

“We welcome this, it’s a very healthy sign,” he said.

“What really satisfies us and makes us proud is how it’s being handled. Dubai proves day in and day out that nobody is above the law, no matter who he is. Everybody is under the umbrella, everyone has to go by the rules. If he does, great he will go places and if he doesn’t he will be punished for it.”

He said he didn’t think the investigations would harm investor confidence in the markets.

“I think it will boost investor confidence,” he said.

“If as an investor I know there is no room for corruption it will give me better confidence and will really put me in a better position if it’s a healthy business environment.”

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