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GDRFA officials at work Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Individuals submitting fake documents to obtain a UAE visa fail to realise Dubai’s extensive and foolproof visa application system, a senior official told WAM.

“We have a well-trained team [that handles] documentation and [is able to] detect fake documents,” said Captain Mohammed Al Marri, Head of Performance Audit Department at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, GDRFA - Dubai.

He said the system does not depend on submitted documents alone - such as IDs or tenancy contracts - to issue a residence or visit visa. “We have an internal system to check the history of applicants, which gives officers the right tools to approve or reject an application,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East in Dubai, running from February 23 to 25.

Captain Al Marri said the fully automated system also does not allow employees to manually sign off on an application, thus preventing the risk of staff fraud. This leaves “no room for any wrongdoing”, he explained.

Cash accounts

He further stated that none of GDRFA’s 5,000-plus employees handle cash as part of their job, which he said is a “high-risk” activity and prone to potential fraud and bribery.

The official also noted the challenge that many organisations have to deal with when it comes to cash and daily closure of cash accounts.

Moreover, the automated system enables the organisation to audit, track and detect any wrongdoings even after many years have passed.

“You can keep track of applications or documents even after 10 or 15 years. There is transparency and the best type of accountability in the entire system,” Captain Al Marri affirmed.

At the same time, he believes that some suspected fraud may not always be intentional. “Some people do not know that they are in a grey area,” he pointed out. For example, a passport control officer might forget to issue an entry stamp on a passenger’s passport. However, if this “mistake” is repeated, it will be treated as suspicious and action will be taken accordingly, he explained.

Enablers of fraud

The official further stressed that the organisation also targets “enablers of fraud” and is trying to put the best safeguards to avert such activities.

The fifth edition of ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East was held under the patronage of Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Financial Audit Authority, FAA, in Dubai; and the GDRFA - Dubai.

Major General Mohammed Al Marri, Director-General of GDRFA-Dubai, delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the conference on Sunday.

Accounting experts and specialists in internal auditing, governance and anti-fraud investigation presented best practices and global cases in technology and financial sectors at the conference.