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Islamic Society ( 18 Aug 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Dubai pledges war against corruption

By a staff reporter

18 August 2008


DUBAI - The Dubai government will take strict action against corruption and bribery in the public and private sector, the attorney-general said on Sunday after several arrests in government-controlled companies shocked the emirate - the region’s financial centre.


“There will be no tolerance shown to anybody who tries to exploit his position to make illegal profits," the attorney-general said in a statement issued by the office of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The statement did not give the attorney-general’s name.


He was reacting to the recent questioning of employees of listed and public establishments on suspicion of exploiting their positions to make illegal profits. The results of investigations into charges of corruption against “accused employees” would be announced once they were complete, he added.


Adel Al Shirawi, former chief of Tamweel, and Feras Kalthoum, its former head of investments are being probed in connection with allegations of financial irregularities, Dubai police said last week. Shirawi is currently vice-chairman of the government-controlled Istithmar World and also sits on Tamweel’s board.


Government-owned developer Nakheel Properties, which has built Dubai’s famed Palm Islands, said on Friday that one of its employees was also under investigation on alleged bribery charges. Dubai police officers told Khaleej Times on condition of anonymity that around 20 people were being questioned in various corruption and bribery cases.


The attorney-general said that fighting corruption was 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,” he said. Dubai’s financial industry welcomed the government’s tough stance against corruption.


“This is fantastic news. It’s very reassuring to hear that the government has zero-tolerance policy against corruption,” Matein Khalid, at investment management firm Bin Zayed Group, told Khaleej Times.


Jitendra Gianchandani, managing partner at Jitendra Chartered Accountants and chairman of JCA Real Estate, said the government’s policy against corruption was in line with expectations. “While the current investigations will create hiccups in the short-term in stock markets and for the image of Dubai, this measure will have a positive and profound impact in the long run,” he said by phone.


The Dubai government is committed to maintaining the highest global standards in fighting corruption, the attorney-general said, adding that it would continue to create an ideal investment climate which had made Dubai gain the “confidence of business leaders throughout the region and world.” According to Zawya Dow Jones, the current series of investigations began in April with the arrest of Zack Shahin, the former chief executive of Deyaar Development Co. On Sunday, Deyaar, Dubai’s third-largest traded property company, announced the appointment of Markus Giebel as its new chief executive.


Nasser bin Hassan Al Shaikh, chairman of Deyaar Development, said in a statement that ensuring the upholding of the very highest standards of corporate governance and transparency is critical to the long-term success of both companies and governments. “On behalf of Deyaar, I offer our complete commitment to contributing to this mission of maintaining and enhancing the emirate’s global reputation for best practice corporate governance, which has proved central to Dubai’s legislative and economic success story,” he said.


Source: Khaleej Times Online, THE U.A.E.