Dubai: Three drivers of a money transfer company and four others who had conspired with them to steal Dh14 million from an armoured truck, lost their appeal and will be jailed three years each.
The money transfer company’s security manager was alerted by two Nepalese guards that they lost contact with the armoured truck’s Pakistani driver, who had dropped them outside Al Ghurair Centre to fill cash at an ATM machine in August.
The manager headed to the location and asked the guards to search for the truck in the vicinity and keep on calling the driver’s mobile phone that was still ringing.
When the manager and the guards found the armoured truck parked nearby with its engine on, they informed the police. The 37-year-old Pakistani driver was missing.
On-site investigations revealed that the driver had moved from his seat to the rear area of the truck [where the money was placed] and disconnected the wires of the surveillance cameras.
CCTV footage from nearby buildings showed that the 37-year-old and his two countrymen drivers, 30 and 39, carried four moneybags to a car and drove away.
After searching the surrounding area, police found the car abandoned in a poorly-lit area and CCTV footage picked up from the vicinity showed the three defendants fleeing in a taxi.
The Pakistani trio were arrested in Sharjah and four other Pakistani men were also apprehended for providing logistical support.
In June, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the seven Pakistani defendants to three years each.
Prosecutors appealed the primary judgement before the Appeal Court and sought to stiffen the punishment. The seven accused also appealed their punishments and sought lenient sentences.
According to the Appeal ruling, presiding judge Eisa Al Sharif dismissed the appeals and upheld the three-year imprisonments for the seven accused.
They will be deported after serving their sentence.
The defendants had been tasked to transfer moneybags from different banks and commercial establishments in Dubai between August 24 and 25 in 2017.
The 37-year-old and 30-year-old pleaded guilty, while other defendants pleaded not-guilty.
A police lieutenant said crime-scene investigators and fingerprint experts examined the armoured truck. “The truck’s CCTV footage clearly showed how the 37-year-old driver had disconnected the cameras and by doing so became the primary suspect. On-site investigations revealed the involvement of two more persons … also four others were involved in aiding and abetting the trio,” he said.
The 37-year-old accused admitted to prosecutors that they stole the money and the other four defendants were supposed to help them transfer the money to Pakistan.
The ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court.