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Sun 17 Aug 2008 03:38 PM

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Dubai's zero tolerance pledge on corruption

UPDATE 1: Emirate's public prosecutor promises strict and prompt action against offenders.

The Government of Dubai will take strict and prompt action against all acts of corruption and bribery wherever they occur in the emirate, Dubai's Public Prosecutor said on Sunday.

Commenting on the recent questioning of employees of listed and public companies on suspicion of exploiting their positions to make illegal profits, he said: "The government will continue to have a strict stance against all aspects of corruption and will take legal measures against violators."

He said fighting corruption is at the top of the government's priorities.

"Dubai Government follows a transparent and clear policy on such issues. There are strict directives to have zero-tolerance towards all aspects of corruption, bribing and taking advantage of official positions."

His comments came just days after Dubai mortgage lender Tamweel's former chief executive Adel Al Shirawi and head of investments were named as part of an investigation for alleged wrongdoing.

And Nakheel, the government-owned developer of manmade islands in the shape of palm trees, said on Friday one of its employees was under investigation on suspicion of bribe-taking.

Earlier this year, investigations began into alleged irregularities by executives at Dubai Islamic Bank, the Gulf Arab state's biggest Islamic bank by market value, and its affiliate real estate firm Deyaar.

The Public Prosecutor added that the results of ongoing investigations about the accused employees will be announced once they are complete.

"Any employee exploiting his position to make illegal profits will not have immunity. The strictness with which some violations that emerged in the recent past were dealt with, confirms the government's commitment to maintaining the highest global standards in fighting corruption and enhancing its achievements in the economic, financial and legislative fields," he said.

He added that corruption and bribery are some of the most important issues that obstruct development in the World.

"The government has created an ideal environment here, which is supported by a legal and legislative structure that depends on the best global practices.

"The government will continue this policy, which made it gain the confidence of business leaders throughout the region and the world. There will be no tolerance shown to anybody who tries to exploit his position to make illegal profits," the Public Prosecutor added.

Meanwhile, Marwan Bin Ghalaita, chief executive of the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), said on Sunday that investigations into financial irregularities at property developer Nakheel and mortgage lender Tamweel are a sign that transparency in the real estate sector is improving.

“I think this is a good thing for the market,” Bin Ghalaita told radio station Dubai Eye.

He disagreed with this month’s Morgan Stanley report that claimed Dubai property prices could fall up to 10 percent in the next two years.

“The real estate market is very solid and the confidence is there,” he said.

The RERA head also said that companies need to educate their employees about the values and ethics of their business, as some of them come from countries where bribes are common in the industry and are seen as a form of commission. (Reuters)

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Trevor 12 years ago

Low ranking employees? Give us a break! Let's get this straight...the whole issue relates to a gross breakdown in corporate governance and that starts with the board.

GWhiz 12 years ago

It is NOT the low ranking employees that you should be looking at, it is the middle management whom exploit their positions. I hope this article is making some feel really uncomfortable, as you have no idea how much is going on, but they play on the fear of others.

SR 12 years ago

“I think this is a good thing for the market,” Oh great, when there are more frauds and irregularities is that actually good for the market. I don't think so! In that line I think then the Government should welcome more crimes and frauds which can be investigated and all that will also be good for the market. What a gaffe!

Rashid 12 years ago

This is a good thing? Are you kidding me? A good thing for who? It does not prove transparency - it only proves what many people have suspected for a long time and that there is corruption rife in the property industry - from the construction companies up to the real estate agents. One or two cases coming to the public eye is not change for the good. The market needs to grow up quickly.

Marvin 12 years ago

It's not very amusing when you're at the bottom of a chain of command (who had lacklustre careers in their own country) that see fit to create a living misery for their subordinates with their cavalier attitude and unprincipled syphoning. Anyone found to be a voice of reason and justice is summarily dispatched to the nearest Gulag (metaphorically), or pressurised into a one way ticket to their home country. Good on you Dubai! Purge this state of the cheating vermin that deprive the honest and the good.

RaJ 12 years ago

It's high time this happened...

Richard 12 years ago

It will snow black before this type of underhand dealing is wiped out...

Trojan 12 years ago

I hope the Dubai government lives up to its commitment because not only are they losing money to corruption, but it is the most disgustful and wasteful aspect of being in the construction and real estate industry in Dubai. The governments and developers should investigate the middle management ranks seriously, that is where most of the trash goes on. This is the best known secret in the industry - known to all except the government and owners. Dubai better start building a lot more jails if they are going to get serious about this.