Dubai: Two tradesmen, who claimed that they made online purchase of two Ghanaian passports that turned out to be forged, have had their forgery case dropped due to reasons related to jurisdiction.

The two Iranian tradesmen were said to have forged, according to prosecution records, the Ghanaian passports which were found hidden in a pair of shoes when one of the defendants picked up cargo from Dubai International Airport.

The Dubai Misdemeanour Court recused itself from looking into the case considering that the crime happened beyond its jurisdiction.

The suspects’ lawyer countered the forgery charges against his two clients saying that they applied for Ghanaian passports online because they constantly faced visa issues with their Iranian nationality.

The suspects denied the accusations and entered a not guilty plea when they showed up in court.

Records said the cargo company contacted the suspects, H.M. and S.M., and informed them that the delivery address was unclear and asked them to pick up the cargo from the airport. When H.M. went to the airport and picked up the box, it turned out to be heavy.

He finished the required procedures before he discovered that the passports had been placed inside a pair of shoes in the box.

“My clients saw a web announcement that advertised that they could apply for a Ghanaian passport through a certain procedure. They constantly face visa and residency issues because of their Iranian passports. Their businesses require them to travel often. They did not forge the passports, but the travel documents were already forged when they were sent to them,” their lawyer told the court.

Email communication

When police came to know that the passports were placed in the shoes, they checked them and suspected that they were forged. The defendants were charged with forgery and referred to court.

The lawyer contended that his clients should not have been accused or prosecuted.

“They did not forge any document. Had there been any forgery, Dubai is not the place of jurisdiction of the purported crime… it is Ghana. We ask the court to dismiss the case because it is the Attorney-General who should have taken legal action against the suspects and not a prosecutor,” said the lawyer.

Records said the tradesmen contacted the email address that was mentioned on the online promotion.

A Ghanaian woman claimed that she worked in Ghana’s immigration department and communicated with the suspects, who emailed her the required documents and wired her Dh25,000 each.

The suspects provided the court with a copy of the email exchange and the Ghanaian woman’s contact details and mobile number and the money transfer receipts.