Dubai Courts acquit salesman falsely accused of theft

He fought for one and a half years and he won. A salesman was rewarded with a lawsuit falsely accusing him of pilfering Dh4,000 by his company after 19 years of dedicated service.

Gulf News
Anthony Lona wins a lawsuit falsely accusing him of pilfering money.

But now he has returned to his hometown with a smile and clutching his gratuity payment of Dh67,000 after litigation in Dubai Courts established his innocence.

Anthony Lona, 49, worked for Ibson General Trading, Dubai, as a salesman.

Part of his duties included depositing cash for the company at its bank.

He was not allowed to count the money. Only the company's owners counted the money and told him the amount.

On occasion, calculations went wrong and he would end up at the bank with excess money. He returned the excess to the company owners several times.

In March 2003, the bank employees informed him that the amount he brought to them was Dh4,000 short of the total his employers had stated they were sending. Lona informed his employers of the discrepancy.

"They asked me to sign for the amount accepted by the bank, even though it was Dh4,000 less than what they had counted."

He went on leave for a month, returned and worked for another month. He was then approached by his employer's sons.

"They retained my labour card and asked me to leave. I said, ‘If you don't need me I will go, but give me my dues.' They told me that they wouldn't give me anything as I had stolen Dh4,000 from them."

Lona said the owners asked him to sign a document stating he had been paid his dues and threatened him with a criminal case if he refused.

Lona did not sign, but complained to the Labour Department. The owners did not appear for any of the meetings scheduled by the Labour Department.

Instead, "The company PRO informed me that a criminal case for theft was filed against me."

Lawyers bailed Lona out of jail and he was acquitted of the criminal case. He went on to win his labour case also and the court directed his employers to pay him his gratuity of Dh67,000.

His lawyer, Advocate P.V. Saleem, said, "There is a general public concept that it is not possible to get an acquittal for such cases. Lona was bold in facing his accusers and got the acquittal in the criminal case. If he had not taken this course, his criminal case would have blocked his labour case and he would not have ultimately received his gratuity."

Although his ailing father passed away during the litigation, he is overjoyed to return to his wife and three children. Ibson General Trading's officials refused to comment on the case.