Dubai: A gang of six people has been sentenced to one year in jail, to be followed by deportation, for robbing around Dh3.6 million from an Iraqi merchant. According to the Dubai Court of First Instance, the defendants were additionally fined Dh3.6 million.
The 38-year-old Iraqi merchant testified that he was contacted by a member of the gang and lured into parting with his money, promising him a better deal than the prevailing market rate in having his cash exchanged into United States dollars. The victim withdrew Dh3.6 million from a bank account and went to the Al Nahda area of Dubai last March, along with a countryman and a Lebanese friend, who turned out to be a member of the gang.
Dubai Public Prosecution has charged the gang members — a Lebanese, a Sudanese, one Cameroonian and five Nigerian men — with robbery and abetting a crime. However, the Lebanese and the Sudanese defendants were acquitted of robbery charges.
“I was planning to exchange my money for dollars. I was sitting inside my vehicle when an African man came to check the cash. I showed him the money inside a red bag and he checked it. He then asked me to send someone to collect the dollars from a nearby office. So I asked the defendant and my countryman to go and collect the money,” said the Iraqi merchant on record. But when the two left, the Nigerian man suddenly pulled the bag out of the car and tried to escape, but the victim managed to hold on to the bag.
“A man then came and sat on the back seat of the car, while another man closed my side of the door to block me,” the victim said. The 27-year-old Nigerian defendant then punched the victim on his chest and managed to pull the bag out of the car and escape.
The 33-year-old Iraqi friend of the victim testified that there was an agreement between the victim and the Lebanese defendant to buy US dollars and he went with the victim to apparently help him complete the transaction. “I received a call from the victim, asking me to return quickly as the money had been stolen,” the witness said on record.
The defendant, who was arrested by Dubai Police, admitted to planning the robbery with the other. The verdict is subject to an appeal within 15 days.