Salt [Image for illustrative purposes] Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: A businessman and a salesman have gone on trial in the Dubai Court of First Instance, after they were accused of offering a bribe to an official at the UAE Red Crescent to accept a consignment of expired salt.

The 40-year-old Indian businessman, who owned a commercial company with a fellow Indian, tried to sell the expired salt to an Emirati philanthropist who wanted to donate the salt to the Red Crescent.

According to records, the philanthropist agreed to buy the salt if the authority approved of it.

The two defendants contacted the Red Crescent official and offered Dh3,000 bribe to approve the expired salt.

In June 2018, the Emirati official alerted Dubai Police who set a trap and arrested the two Indian defendants while delivering the salt to the Red Crescent warehouse in Jebel Ali area.

The 38-year-old Emirati official testified that the philanthropist, who was a regular donor and had already given food worth Dh8 million to the authority before the incident, called him to contact the two defendants to check the salt as he planned to buy it for the benefit of the authority.

“They contacted me and they sent a sample of the salt box. There were two production dates stamped on the boxes. According to the first date it was December 2015 which means the salt had expired. The salt bag was also damaged due to heat and I suspected that it had expired,” said the Emirati official in records.

The two defendants called the official and offered him Dh3,000 to approve the salt.

The 65-year-old Emirati philanthropist said that he met the 35-year-old Indian salesman three years earlier for business and he called him and offered the salt at a cheap price. He agreed to buy the salt if the Red Crescent approved it.

“I know the Red Crescent only accepts food supplies with over nine months validity as it stores them in their warehouses for some time before shipping it to needy people. I told the defendants that I can buy the salt if it is not expired. I agreed to buy it after the authority approved it,” said the Emirati philanthropist in records.

During interrogation, the first defendant confessed that he imported the salt and couldn’t sell it because it has two production dates. He asked the salesman to find a buyer and later he offered a bribe to the official at Red Crescent to approve the salt.

The two defendants were charged with offering bribe, attempt to obtain Dh27,000 [value of the salt] and commercial fraud by changing the expiry dates.

The trial has been posted to September 2.