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Mon 29 Sep 2014 01:31 PM

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Dubai Chamber chief backs review of bounced cheques crime

Hamid Buamim says UAE should look at best practices around the world to readdress the issue

Dubai Chamber chief backs review of bounced cheques crime

The head of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce has said the criminalisation of bounced cheques in the UAE should be reviewed, with best practices from other parts of the world being adopted.

Hamad Buamim, president and chief executive of the chamber, said in an interview with Arabian Business that the issue needs to be readdressed, adding that the newly-launched Al Etihad Credit Bureau may help to evolve the issue in the UAE.

Making the offence a civil matter rather than criminal – and punishable with jail – has been an ongoing point of discussion and has the support of numerous banking officials.

Earlier this month, UAE Banks Federation chairman Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said the country could not decriminalise bounced cheques due to the lack of alternative methods to guarantee payments.

In the UAE, and in much of the rest of the Gulf, cheques (often post-dated) are the most common form of payment for rents, cars and property purchases. However, if the cheque is not honoured, the issue becomes a criminal rather than a civil matter.

As the representative of the private sector in the UAE, Buamim said he isn’t in full agreement with him.

“I would say that’s maybe the view of the banks... Looking at it from the business perspective, I think the whole world is evolving and the issue of blank cheques, or even the mechanism of the cheque itself needs to be reviewed, has to be readdressed and we have to look at best practices happening around the world.

“But again, I think also we are still lacking a few other tools that have to be available in this market. One of those is the credit bureau, which has just started. There will be more information and other ways of dealing with businesses and consumers and then we will be able to evolve from that.”

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Mohammad 5 years ago

other tools are simple and adopted by the whole of civilized world which is of course Bankruptcy.But then there is no mention of this word in Arab dictionary even if you die,go to jail,your whole family suffers but will always be answerable to the bounced cheques

Sole 5 years ago

If these words are sincere and not for publicity use only , please stop accepting cheques , stop imposing AED 1000 dhs fine on cheques return and start accepting direct debit or cash only .

I believe we all agree that accepting wrong practice is method of encouraging it , if we know its wrong we should encourage people to stop using it , and avoid being in situation where received cheques might bounced ( unless if in the back of our head we wish the cheque will bounce in order to collect AED 1000 for penalty) , or at least remove the warning notice from DED payment voucher.

Isn’t true that we should start the change that we want to see in the world ??

Keith 5 years ago

It is uncivilised in my opinion that when you go before a judge. All he asked is did you sign this cheque or cheques and if you answer yes. Without allowing you to explain the reason. He gives you one year to three years in jail. You never had a criminal record before. This is horrible

Veronica Chapman 5 years ago

I really don't know the answere.........I am still owed money from a bounced cheque from over five years ago.....yes you have guessed right...from real estate broker....and yes he is somewhere in the emirate still working.......

I think the Dubai Police should do. Wanted List.......they have this system in the U.k. And it works very well.......that is to name and shame........somewhere out there knows where these people are....

harry 5 years ago

I have got punishment for the person faked my signature and three times send it to forensic with three expert still the court give the judgement against me just like that imagine I did not sign and just he stolen my cheque and forged my signature and dubai forensic is proved but court is punishment

Chris J 5 years ago

What is worse is that rather than the recipient holding PDC's until the due date, there is a market in selling these instruments for less than face value. The normal purchasers are the banks. Where an event arises and the PDC is to be withdrawn, it can not and then the legal process comes into play on the date of the PDC. This is an outrageous use of financial instruments issued by individuals and companies. Real estate companies are one of the worst at doing this. Unfortunately, our judiciary do not understand the parameters as outlined earlier by the letter from Keith,

Mohamed 5 years ago

My feeling is that banks are lobbying against decriminalizing bounced checques and not the other way around as the articles hinted.

I don't see how new laws will be in place without delinquency/bankruptcy defined and regulated. This alone could take a decade or so to apply, learn, and mature.

leo50 5 years ago

The Dubai Chamber Head has long advocated a review of the bounced cheque syndrome but unfortunately to date, has not been successful in seeing any change. I also believe the banks are happy with the current situation as there has been no movement from them to address the problem other than use the deterrent of imprisonment regardless of reason.

Cyrus 5 years ago

In a place like UAE where many people are coming and going without making UAE their permanent home, Criminalization of Checks is the right way to keep things in balance and create psychological and physical security. The opposite has been tried in other Emerging markets in Iran, Pakistan, ... and the result has been a loss of confidence in the market, with now criminals ruling the business while the ethical businesses are suffering. Why not keep it a crime punishable by Prison. What is wrong with this, if a person has committed, make him stand by his commitment, making sure the criminals go to jail leaving safety and trustful environment for the correct businesses.

stefan 5 years ago

@ Cyrus: We should consider the situation in UAE and not generalize it. We are facing in UAE to a situation that where ever you go you have to issue a security cheque for each and every installment and even sometimes to a higher amount as the real loan amount is. If you want to buy a car if you take a loan or if rent a house you have to issue a big number of cheques. Very soon you are by hundreds of issue cheques. The result is the significant high risk for the normal consumer because with every issued cheque to the bank they practically stay wit one foot in the jail. How many times we have heard about the misusing the situation by banks which are mostly base on a smal mistake on both sides but with a hug he impact on the reputation of persons with good standing in the community and internationally. This is the reason why we don't use any cheques in Europe. There are other instruments of regulation.