Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has logged 50 criminal cases alleging financial irregularity and bribery in the last 22 months, said senior legal officials on Thursday.

Department logs registered 21 cases of financial corruption involving embezzlement of public funds during 2017-2018 while justice investigators probed a further 29 cases of bribery in the same time period.

According to the UAE laws, violators face imprisonment with sentencing terms determined by the scope and scale of the cash amount and damages involved.

Addressing the media, Counsellor Humaid Zuma Al Darmaki, head of Abu Dhabi Appeals Prosecution, said, “Corruption-related crimes are serious and complex. They are a crime associated with many of the prevailing economic and social factors. The UAE has adopted a clear strategy to tackle financial crimes and protect the financial system of the state, looking primarily at the participation and cooperation of all concerned authorities such as law enforcement agencies, government agencies and financial institutions.”

He said the UAE had signed an agreement with the United Nations for fighting corruption on August 10, 2005 and implemented it on February 22, 2006.

The department organised on Wednesday a meeting dubbed “Legal Framework For Combating Corruption” to highlight the legal framework of corruption, punishment, penalties and imprisonment.

In the case of financial embezzlement, any public service officer found guilty of committing such white-collar crimes shall be punished by provisional imprisonment, Al Darmaki said.

A sentence could extend not less than five years when the crimes include forgery or faking official documents.

Fines more than Dh10,000 can also be imposed.

Courts may also order full restitution of stolen money, Al Darmaki said.

As per the Article No 237, the person who bribes and who takes the bribe can be jailed for five years.

He said that the UAE is considered an example for its successful effort at fighting corruption. He lauded international agreements and police cooperation in exchanging information which helped crack down on corruption.

Al Darmaki said media also helps by creating awareness of crime and punishment, and is key in combating corruption in the country.