By Conrad Egbert
Project director of a desalination plant gets three years for gross negligence after nine workers died
A former senior employee of Germany’s Fichtner Consulting Engineering based in Dubai has been sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of negligence following the 2002 Dewa roof collapse tragedy.
Nine construction workers were killed when the roof of a desalination plant under construction in Jebel Ali, collapsed.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) commissioned the construction of the station and Fichtner was the project consultant.
Four people were initially charged over the death of the workers but last week three of them were acquitted.
The project director from Fichtner Consulting Engineering in Jebel Ali has been given a three year sentence and been ordered to pay a sum of US $73,512 (AED270,000) as blood money to the victim’s families.
Mohammed Khatib, a lawyer from Habib Al Mulla Advocates and Legal Consultancy, the firm representing one of the acquitted, said: “The man has been given three years imprisonment along with having to pay a fine of AED270,000 as blood money.”
The four men who were charged worked for different companies, who had been asked by Dewa to design, engineer and construct the desalination station.
The Dubai Court of First Instance decided that the Fichtner employee, who was directing the project, neglected his duties by not holding periodical meetings to review the work process and discuss any design amendments.
He also failed to verify on-site supervision. The court heard how he failed to co-ordinate between the parties on site and did not confirm that all blueprints and accounts has been approved by authorities including Dubai Municipality and Civil Defence.
Fichtner Consulting Engineering declined to comment on the verdict.