Cargo company’s area manager accused of taking Dh214,000 in kickbacks

Suspect accepted bribes to disregard a client’s unpaid bills that mounted up to Dh20m

13:27 October 15, 2016

Dubai: A cargo company’s area manager has been accused of taking Dh214,000 in kickbacks to continue doing business with a client whose unpaid bills mounted up to Dh20 million.

The 46-year-old Bangladeshi manager, M.M., was said to have accepted Dh214,000 in bribes from an Indian businessman, B.L., who owns a firm [the cargo company’s client] to continue providing them with cargo services despite being ordered not to due to pending payments in August 2014.

When the client’s unpaid bills reached Dh8.6 million, according to records, the cargo company’s finance manager emailed M.M. ordering him to stop catering services to the firm.

The country manager was then said to have overlooked the email and continued doing business as usual with B.L.’s firm until the debt reached Dh20 million.

Following an internal investigation, the cargo company discovered the unpaid debts and that M.M. had intentionally accepted kickbacks from B.L. and continued doing business with them.

Prosecutors accused M.M. of accepting bribes in collaboration with B.L.

Records said the Indian firm owner remains at large and police are searching for him.

M.M. pleaded innocent when he showed up before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Thursday.

According to the charge sheet, prosecutors said M.M. abused his position as the company’s area manager in Dubai and accepted bribes against disregarding the unpaid bills of one of their clients.

B.L. was accused of aiding and abetting M.M.

“I did not accept any bribes,” M.M. told presiding judge Urfan Omar.

The cargo company’s human resources manager testified to prosecutors that they discovered that M.M. had been taking kickbacks shortly after the debt went up to Dh20 million.

“The finance manager emailed the suspect and ordered him to stop doing business with the firm until the pay their Dh8.6 million debts. M.M. replied via email that the firm’s manager would be paying Dh1.8 million out of the unsettled debts and that they [cargo company] could not stop doing business with them because they might lose the whole debt [Dh8.6 million]. M.M. disregarded the instructions and continued providing cargo services to the firm until their unpaid bills mounted up to Dh20 million. An internal investigation and bank statements revealed that the firm had made bank transfers worth Dh214,000 that M.M. had collected. That amount [Dh214,000] was discovered when the firm provided us [cargo company] with a copy of their bank statements to prove that their finances were bad and they needed us to be patient and continue doing business with them,” claimed the manager.

M.M. was cited as telling prosecutors that he did not take the money as bribe but he took it to continue doing business with the firm.

He was quoted as alleging that had he asked for a kickback, he [M.M.] would have preferred a cash payment rather than a bank transfer.

Records said B.L. left the UAE in March 2015.

The cargo company’s lawyers lodged against a civil lawsuit against the suspect in which it is seeking Dh21,000 in temporary compensation.

The trial reconvenes on November 10.