Dubai: Cases of bounced cheques reported by banks in Dubai will soon be officially registered and reviewed online to ease the procedure on bank and police officials.
In a press conference held on Thursday, Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Deputy Commander of Dubai Police, said the pilot project was introduced in January at Al Muraqqabat police station, which had five banks registered in the electronic system.
The link will ease complaint-filing against the cheque issuer without the complainant having to go to a police station. An electronic form with all data required about the bounced cheque is filled in and then automatically sent to one of Dubai's police stations to be recorded as an official complaint. The applicants are not obliged to go to police except to sign the formal complaint before it is sent to prosecution.
Video: The UAE's law on bounced cheques explained
"Instead of having the bank official drive to the police station to file a bounced cheque report, they can simply access the Dubai Police website, enter their user name and password to register all the details of their report," he said.
Within the coming four to six months, the electronic system is expected to be introduced in all police stations to assist around 15 banks in Dubai.
Since the beginning of the year, Al Muraqqabat police station recorded 213 bounced cheque reports on its new system from five banks that have linked itself with this programme, said Lieutenant Colonel Jamal Al Jallaf, Deputy Director of the General Department for Crime Monitoring at Dubai Police.
Police officers responsible for handling bounced cheque cases are responsible for handling these reports as soon as they are registered online.
"This is implemented to save time and effort of both the bank officials and police officers. All the required data will be available on the system and the bank officials can follow up on the same system," said Maj Gen Al Mazeina.
A notice will be automatically sent to all police stations and exit and entry points to report the suspect in case he/she decides to flee the country, he said.
Brigadier Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Director of the General Department for Criminal Investigation at Dubai Police, previously told Gulf News: "We are very strict against bounced cheque cases, but before taking any legal action, we give the cheque issuers a chance to reach a compromise with the second party before filing a formal case. If the settlement can't be reached the complaint will be registered as a case and transferred to public prosecution and later to court."
With the new system, the second party is given the chance to settle the case before it is reported to the prosecution, said Lt Col Al Jallaf. Currently, the system is only available in Arabic but when it is finalised it will also be available in English, he said.
According to Maj Gen Al Mazeina, they have proposed a study and are awaiting the approval of the Interior Ministry for a second option in registering such reports.
"The other system would be on a federal level and, instead of being filed to an administrative link, it would be filed directly to the police portal. An officer or an official appointed by the police would be placed in all banks to carry out this procedure due to the sensitivity of the portal," he said.
This way the cases from all police stations in the UAE of bounced cheques will be linked together thus making it much easier for police officers working on these cases. Some individuals have bounced cheque cases filed in different stations across the UAE.
The current system serves only Dubai, he said.
During the press conference, Maj Gen Al Mazeina did not disclose the number of cases of bounced cheques for 2009 in Dubai or the value of these cheques.
However, as earlier reported in Gulf News, in the first three months of 2009, Dubai police recorded a total of 11,440 bounced cheques, against 6,462 in the same period in 2008.
According to Lt Col Ali Ganem, Director of Bur Dubai police station, which covers over 48 per cent of Dubai, in 2009 they received over 15,940 complaints about bounced cheques.
Of this figure, 3,700 cases were settled at the police station and public prosecution. Meanwhile, 4,800 names of suspects involved in bounced cheques were referred to the public prosecution in the past six months.
Have you ever faced problems because of a bounced cheque? How did you sort it out?