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Two in court for forgery of 287 customs forms

Suspects tricked 14 companies to transfer ownership of steel worth Dh259m to their employer

Gulf News

Dubai: Two employees of a steel company have been accused of forging hundreds of customs declaration forms to transfer ownership of steel worth Dh259 million illegally to their employer.

A Jordanian administrative affairs director and his deputy, an Indian, were said to have abused their authority at the Jebel Ali-based steel company and forged 287 customs declaration forms to transfer the ownership of loads of steel from other companies to the company where they worked in 2013.

The director and his deputy were believed to have tricked 14 companies (local and international) by alleging that they could get them customs’ fees at less than five per cent if those companies transferred the ownership of their steel to the company where the accused worked.

The two men obtained 287 customs declaration forms and other assets [steel], according to records, in deceptive and illegal methods after they posed to the allegedly duped companies as executives in the steel company after they had been fired.

The steel company’s management discovered in June 2015 that the ownership of Dh259 million worth of steel had been transferred to their company against their knowledge or consent, said records.

It is believed that the motive behind the forgery was personal gains of around Dh13 million.

Several violations and hefty fines were issued against the steel company, according to records, for having failed to pay the required customary fees following the ownership transfer of those vast quantities of steel.

The company’s management communicated with a number of the companies from where the ownerships had been transferred before it was discovered that the two executives had been behind it.

The management reported the matter to the police and further interrogations revealed that the Jordanian and the Indian had been involved in different forms of wrongdoings and forgeries before and after they had been sacked from the steel company.

Prosecutors accused the suspects of forging 287 customs declaration forms [of the Federal Customs Authority], using those forged documents and handing them over to 14 companies to transfer the ownership of Dh259 million worth of steel to the company where they worked.

The Jordanian suspect appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance but did not enter a plea on Sunday. The Indian suspect missed the hearing.

Presiding judge Mohammad Jamal did not mete out the Jordanian’s accusations and adjourned the hearing until the Indian suspect attends the upcoming hearing on September 17.

Prosecution records said the suspects committed the alleged crimes between February 2011 and April 2013.

The steel company’s finance manager testified to prosecutors that the suspects were sacked in 2013 but the irregularities were discovered in June 2015.

“We conducted an internal investigation that exposed that the suspects had tricked several companies and convinced them to transfer the ownership of their steel material to our company using deceptive methods. They carried out those transactions using forged stamps and signatures that had not been consented by our company. When we discovered that we were the owners of steel materials worth Dh259 million without being the real owners, we reported the matter to the police. We notified the police that the suspects had committed those crimes … meanwhile one of them lodged a malicious tax evasion report against us before the customs authorities,” he told prosecutors.