Dubai: In Dubai's strongest move against financial corruption to date, a new law was issued on Tuesday, imposing tough penalties that are aimed to safeguard public and private money.

In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, issued the law that is designed "to protect Dubai's economic interests and preserve financial rights of individuals", and which "comes in line with Dubai's ongoing efforts to eradicate all forms of fraud, enhancing the emirate's position as a leading global business hub," a statement said.

The law aims to recover funds "fraudulently accumulated by individuals from either public or private money", it said. Under the new law, individuals convicted of corruption will face five to 20 years' imprisonment.

The law also allows "the immediate release" of those convicted of fraud "once they fully return the money to their lawful owners or through settlement agreements negotiated with their debtors", the statement explained.

Fund recovery

For this purpose, the law, which took effect immediately, stipulates that convicted individuals "will be granted access to all necessary external communications that guarantee timely recovery of funds" in question.

Dubai Police Chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim advised anyone who has embezzled government funds to return the money at the earliest opportunity.

"We are going to hit all the dirty hands that illegally snatched government money. We will not spare the ones who became millionaires overnight with public money," Lt Gen Dahi told Gulf News.

Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre, told Gulf News: "The law is very good to fill the gaps in the current legislations which don't suit the international standards.

"This law is to protect the public funds and deter those who misused or might misuse government money and their posts to serve their personal interests," he added.