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Security cheque cases against Emiratis to be made civil cases

Suspension of the criminal liability does not undermine receovery rights of banks

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The public prosecution in Abu Dhabi has moved to implement a presidential decree to release Emirati citizens imprisoned because of bounced security cheques.

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s decree pertained to the treatment of cases of bounced security cheques filed by banks and financial companies against Emirati citizens.

Around 290 Emiratis in Abu Dhabi have benefited from the decree till November 10.

An official at the Public Prosecution Office in Abu Dhabi explained that the suspension of criminal liability on security cheques does not undermine the rights of banks and financial companies. It only makes the liability in such cases civil, and not criminal, leading to the release of detainees.

The official added that the decree does not cover security cheques issued between individuals. The liability in such cases will continue to be criminal.

The decree calls for suspending the cases against those convicted in absentia and to grant beneficiaries a search suspension document to avoid any future action against them.

The Abu Dhabi public prosecution called on all citizens who have cases filed against them to visit the public prosecution offices to settle their issues and to grant them search suspension document.

According to the Central bank, financial institutions will settle citizens’ debts through installment schedules determined by the courts.

Those who are in prison will be released and have their loans settled in accordance with specific settlement mechanisms, including deduction of 25 per cent from their monthly salaries, with undertakings not to borrow again until the loan is settled.

On Sunday, the government represented by Ahmad Juma Al Zaabi, the Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, UAE Central Bank Governor, and a number of national and foreign banks will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with regard to loan defaults.

On January 26, Shaikh Khalifa set up a Dh10 billion fund to ease the financial burden of Emiratis in debt.

His initiative benefits 6,800 defaulters with personal loans of less than Dh1 million.

The Central Bank had revealed a few weeks ago that 10 financial institutions have signed agreements with the Debt Settlement Fund in order to implement the initiative, including Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank, First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Mashreq Bank and HSBC.

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