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Woman, 3 men in court over Dh5.7m theft

Suspects attacked accountant and administrator employed by businessman when they were outside money exchange

Gulf News

Dubai: A woman and three men have been accused of attacking two employees who worked for a businessman, and stealing Dh5.7 million from them near a money exchange house.

The two employees, a Pakistani accountant and an Afghan administrator, were said to have taken the money that belonged to the Afghan businessman and gone to the money exchange house. They were mugged by the three Nigerian men and their countrywoman in Naif.

The Nigerian men, A.P., A.A. and J.O., and their countrywoman, N.J., attacked the two employees once they reached the exchange house wanting to change the money to local currency in May.

The businessman was said to have sent the money [in different currencies], according to records, with one of his employees from Afghanistan to Dubai to hand over to the accountant and administrator.

The four Nigerians attacked the employees while they were waiting outside the money exchange house at 11pm.

Prosecutors accused A.P., A.A. and J.O., and N.J. of theft.

Eleven other Nigerians, including a woman, were also charged with possessing part of the stolen money.

The 15 suspects are aged between 26 and 41.

A.P. and A.A. pleaded guilty when they appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Thursday.

J.O. and N.J. pleaded not guilty and refuted their accusations.

The remaining suspects pleaded not guilty maintaining that they had business deals among themselves and were not aware that the money had been stolen.

The businessman’s employee claimed to prosecutors that his employer handed him the money and asked him to take it to Dubai.

“I handed over the money to the accountant and the administrator once I reached Dubai. We all then went by car to Naif to the exchange house to change the money to UAE dirhams. I waited in the vehicle while the accountant and the administrator took the money in two bags and headed to the exchange house … 10 minutes later I came to know that they had been robbed,” the employee testified to prosecutors.

The Pakistani accountant testified to prosecutors that he and the administrator were waiting in front of the door of the exchange house to go in and change the money when the suspects mugged them.

“One of the defendants attacked my colleague with a cleaver … they snatched the bags containing the money and fled. We reported the matter to the police … eight days later, I was summoned by the police to identify two of the suspects, who turned out to be A.P. and A.A.,” he claimed.

A police lieutenant testified to prosecutors that the first two suspects [A.P. and A.A.] were identified after they were caught on a surveillance cameras on a nearby shop.

“Primary interrogations led to the arrest of A.P. and A.A. in a flat in Ajman where they had been hiding at a friend’s place. The remaining suspects were arrested one at a time,” he claimed.

The trial continues.