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Mon 23 Feb 2009 08:39 AM

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Financial crime focus of prosecution body - Abu Dhabi

Unit will tackle bribery, embezzlement and money laundering, say officials.

Cases of bribery, money laundering, abuse of power, embezzlement and the misuse of funds are to be overseen by a special new prosecution body, the Abu Dhabi government announced on Monday.

The Finance Public Prosecution body, specialising in financial crimes, would cover both public and semipublic organisations, said Yousef Al Ibri, Abu Dhabi attorney general, in a statement reported in UAE daily The National.

The move is part of a widespread strategy to improve financial accountability and transparency in the public sector in the emirate.

In view of this no one would be above the law when it came to prosecution of financial fraud cases, Al Ibri added.

“The new body is specialised in investigating financial crimes and referring those cases to relevant courts in accordance with the laws concerning public fund-related crimes, such as breaches of trust and abuse of public office,” Al Ibri said.

“There is no immunity for any official who abuses their position for illegal benefits. Corruption and bribery are the major obstacles to economic development and progress,” he added.

The body was set up on the orders of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department and will fall within Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution.

The move is inline with Sheikh Mansour’s goal for the city’s judiciary to be a to be on a par with the best in the world.

The new body’s main objective will be to provide a framework to protect public and private funds, according to the Judicial Department, but its full mandate has yet to be defined.

It will handle crimes relating to public and semipublic entities in Abu Dhabi city and was in line with the Judicial Department’s five-year strategy to improve the work of the judiciary, added Al Ibri.

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