Two employees of real estate developer Nakheel stood trial on Sunday in the Criminal Court of First Instance for allegedly accepting bribes in return for carrying out their duties. The next hearing has been scheduled for March 29. A 28-year-old Egyptian salesman and a 32-year-old Emirati sales general manager at Nakheel are accused of overcharging a company for the purchase of a piece of land and taking a two per cent commission on a deal worth millions. The alleged bribery came to light thanks to an American sales consultant who pretended to go along with the two accused during the deal. The American sales consultant told the interrogators that the Egyptian defendant had told him in May 2008 that there was a plot of land for sale on the seafront of Palm Jebel Ali. According to his statement, the Egyptian said his superior, the Emirati who is also on trial, was willing to sell the land to whoever was willing to pay an extra two per cent of the original price in cash.
Soon afterwards the American informed the control section manager about the plan and he was told to go through with the duo in the deal. As soon as a purchaser stepped forward to buy the land the deal was struck. Ten per cent of the total land price estimated at Dh265 million was paid by cheque to Nakheel. As soon as a receipt of payment was given to the purchasing company the two per cent commission worth more than Dh5,134,000 was collected in cash by the American who pretended to accept the bigger slice of Dh2,050,000. The rest was allegedly split between the duo standing trial. Thereafter, the American witness reported the whole incident to the officials at Nakheel. When the police quizzed the Egyptian defendant he said he could return part of the money he kept with him in the UAE but not what he sent to his home country. The police seized the whole amount of money collected by the Emirati at his aunt’s house in Al Mimzar.