Gulf news Man pretended to be ministry official to steal Dh2.9m in jewellery, Dubai court hears

Man pretended to be ministry official to steal Dh2.9m in jewellery, Dubai court hears

DUBAI // Prosecutors said that Emirati YA, 37, forged a number of Ministry of Economy documents that he used to close a deal with a jewellery shop that he bought a large quantity of valuable items from on the proviso that he was a ministry employee buying them to use as gifts for ministry guests.

YA and his Syrian accomplice, JA, 35, convinced the Canadian owner of the shop that the ministry was looking to buy Dh5m worth of valuables.

"They told me the ministry allocates about Dh20m a year just for buying presents," said the victim, ZM, 51. He added that, in February 2013, YA gave him a purchase order and three other documents related to the purchase and both men agreed that the payment would be made four months later.

The jeweller said he handed Dh5m worth of jewellery to YA in a bag.

"When the payment was due, YA came to my shop with half of the jewellery, saying that the minister did not like them and wants to return them," said ZM. "I got suspicious and contacted the ministry, which confirmed it had nothing to do with this and so I spoke to YA in order to settle this issue amicably."

The value of the jewellery that the defendant did not return was Dh2.9m, he added, saying that YA then agreed with the shop owner to hand over a house in Abu Dhabi but that never materialised. "He then gave me a cheque that bounced. I reported him to authorities then," said ZM, who testified that JA introduced him to YA.

The Emirati was not present to enter a plea and the court issued an arrest warrant against him. The Syrian was there and denied an aiding and abetting charge.

"I just introduced them to each other but I didn't know he was going to con him and, at the time of the incident, I wasn't with him at the shop," said JA.

The next hearing is on April 10.