Three Dubai Islamic Bank employees who were jailed by the Court of First Instance last year for breach of trust and embezzlement were cleared by the appeal Court yesterday. The three were originally sentenced to three years in connection with a Dh890 million bank fraud perpetrated between August 1995 and January 1998.

Most of the money disappeared from the bank's Dubai branch in 183 telex transfers to accounts belonging to an African conman named Foutanga Dit Babani Sissoko. The remainder left through the front door in plastic bags carried by the conman and his associates.

Branch manager Mohammed Ayyoub claimed the conman, known as Baba, had put him under a spell using black magic which made him authorise the payments. They were disguised in falsified bank ledgers.

Ayyoub did not appeal the three-year sentence he received at the Dubai Court of First Instance on June 28 last year. But his chief accountant's appeal against his three-year sentence was rejected yesterday.

The court also rejected appeals by 12 of Baba's swindling gang against their three-year sentences. The gang comprises men from Nigeria, Sudan, Mali, Senegal, Saudi Arabia and Ghana.
The Dubai Civil Court is hearing the civil part of the case involving recovery of the missing money.

Baba was listed on the Dubai Police "10 Most Wanted" list which was published on the Internet in May.