Dubai: A cybercrime expert will investigate a case of a steel company’s two executives accused of forging hundreds of customs declaration forms to transfer the ownership of steel worth Dh259 million illegally.

A Jordanian administrative affairs director and his deputy, an Indian, were reported 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 Dubai Court of First Instance had earlier jailed the defendants for three years after convicting them of tricking 14 companies (local and international) by claiming that they could get them customs’ fees at less than five per cent if those companies transferred the ownership of their steel to their workplace.

The two men obtained 287 customs declaration forms and other assets [steel], according to the primary court’s judgement, using deceptive methods after they posed to the duped companies as executives in the steel company after they had been fired.

The primary court also fined each defendant Dh150,000.

However, the duo appealed the primary ruling before the Dubai Appeal Court and sought to have their punishment overturned.

The duo pleaded not guilty before the appellate court.

Presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm accepted the defendants’ appeal and decided that the case should be referred to a court-appointed cybercrime expert to reinvestigate and decide whether the duo had committed any wrongdoing.

The expert will review the case file and documents and submit the final report to the appellate court when it reconvenes next month. 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.

Several violations were recorded and hefty fines 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 investigation revealed that the Jordanian and the Indian had been involved in different forms of wrongdoings and forgeries before and after they were sacked from the steel company.

Records said the duo forged 287 customs declaration forms [of the Federal Customs Authority], used those forged documents and handed them over to 14 companies to transfer the ownership of Dh259 million worth of steel to the company where they worked.

Prosecutors said the suspects committed the crimes between February 2011 and April 2013.

The steel company’s finance manager testified that the services of the defendants were terminated 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 said.