Dubai: The Dubai Ruler’s Court settled a case filed by a real estate developer against three of its employees accused of harming the interests of the company and causing financial damages of Dh150 million.
The three employees were accused of withholding advantages and benefits from customers, which is in direct violation with the company’s policy. The real estate developer said that the employees had taken advantage of the jurisdictions and powers given to sell land plots to customers at a price that was lower than the market value.
The developer had instructed its relevant departments to investigate the matter, and learnt that some of its employees were colluding with other individuals outside the company. The employees lied and informed customers interested in the advertised plots that the land had already been booked for another party, and that if they wanted to purchase the land they would have to transfer payments to the accounts of the company or individual who had booked it.
Hashem Salem Al Qiwani, Director of the Dubai Rulers Court’s Disputes Settlement Department, said that the lawsuit was a result of giving excessive powers and jurisdiction to employees without anyone to supervise them. He pointed out that once the lawsuit was referred to the department, it set up a committee comprised of the department’s specialised experts to look into it.
The committee conducted a detailed study on the process of selling land plots, and looked into the bank accounts of parties involved in the case in the UAE and abroad.
Al Qiwani revealed that the company learnt about the practices of its employees and began investigating them after a customer filed a complaint with the real estate developer, stating that he was cheated by one of its employees, resulting in the customer making payments to a company, which supposedly had a lien on a number of land plots. Following the investigations, the company sacked the employees and filed the lawsuit.
Al Qiwani pointed out that the department’s committee of experts reviewed the documents pertaining to the case and the company’s land sale process. The developer had established a committee that set the average price for the land plots. The first defendant, the manager of the company, took advantage of the wide powers he enjoyed to inform interested buyers that the land had been booked by another company, and that they would now have to purchase this land from that company. The customers made payments of around Dh45.2 million over the course of three years.
The committee was able to determine that the lands were not reserved by any company, and that the manager had deceived the customers to reap the profits for himself and others.
The manager had also encouraged the customers to purchase the land plots by offering them numerous benefits and completing the payments in an illegal manner to the supposed company that owns the lands. The benefits included alterations made to the payment plans and providing them with additional free land space.
The committee was able to determine that the first suspect was able to obtain Dh22.6 million from payments transferred to his bank accounts and those of his companies in the UAE and abroad, while the second suspect, the owner of the company that allegedly had booked the land plots, also received Dh22.6 million.
Upon questioning the first suspect, he presented agreements signed between him and the owner of the company that booked the land plots, in an attempt to prove that the funds in his bank account were payments for consultation and administrative services provided to the aforementioned company. The agreements were found to be false. The committee also determined that the other accused employees played no role in the land sale operations and made no financial gains.
Al Qiwani said that once the committee’s work was done, the department submitted a detailed report to the court. The court issued a ruling in which the first suspect and the owner of the company that allegedly booked the land plots will fully repay the money that have unlawfully obtained.