The Abu Dhabi Court of Cassation has upheld the judgments handed down against a UAE national, his wife and 16 other defendants of different nationalities involved in 12 cases relating to offences of abuse of public funds, forgery, bribery, illicit gain, misappropriation, commercial fraud and disruption of a public facility, in which the first defendant and his wife were sentenced to 66 years’ imprisonment together with fines and restitution of 39 million dirhams for all the cases tried.
The other defendants were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 to 15 years and fines totalling 13 million dirhams for the crimes committed.
The defendants were brought before the court by the Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution, which had launched its investigation into the case on the basis of reports from competent authorities indicating that the main defendant and his wife were carrying out criminal activity in breach of the law by setting up private warehouses in their home to store expired food and consumer goods, enlisting the help of others to change the expiry date prior to putting the products back on sale.
The crimes committed by the defendants included soliciting and accepting gifts in exchange for exerting purported influence by claiming to be able to intervene with a public authority to obtain an advantage, committing the offence of laying a water pipe to connect a farm in breach of regulations and without installing a meter, destroying pipes belonging to the body responsible for water distribution by connecting a water pipe from a farm to the main pipe, resulting in a reduction in the flow of water and disrupting the activities of the public body.
They also intentionally caused damage to the equipment of the body in charge of electricity in six properties belonging to the first defendant, by disconnecting the main protection of the electrical panel, which caused a short-circuit and led to the disruption of the services provided by this public body and the power cut-off to other beneficiaries. Moreover, they intentionally committed an act that would endanger the lives of others by disconnecting and randomly connecting the wires of the electrical panels in the properties belonging to the first defendant in breach of the conditions and standards, an act that could lead to the risk of an electrical leak and ignition, resulting in serious damage.
The defendants also attempted to appropriate the public road separating two farms and to disrupt public transport by merging the two farms, by unlawfully using the road separating the two agricultural holdings, as well as forging official documents and electronic files which they used to commit these crimes.
With regard to the offences of commercial fraud, the defendants premeditatedly altered and changed the main features and dates of expiry, provided incorrect and misleading commercial data in respect of goods and products, including organic food products, thus endangering people’s health and lives, in addition to promoting adulterated out-of-date products, which are the subject matter of the previous charges, by means of misleading advertising with incorrect data intended to induce the public to buy such products, claiming that they are of good quality and fit for consumption.