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Health inspector asked grocer for iPhone as bribe

By Eman Al Baik

A 51- year old Jordanian health and food inspector AAA allegedly asked a grocery owner for an iPhone4 worth Dh 3,000 against not fining him, the Dubai Criminal Court heard.

Officer Taher Tayeb, 23, Emirati, testified that he met AAA during the opening of the grocery and restaurant.

“A week after the opening, on January 20, 2011, AAA visited the grocery and restaurant and made some notes and gave me a grace period of one week. While leaving the restaurant, he told me that his mobile was very old and needs repair and asked me about the price of an iPhone4. I told him that I have a mobile phones licence also I told him that an officer in the Ministry of Interior. We exchanged contact numbers and then he left.

“Two days later he called me and asked me about the price of an iPhone4 but I could not tell him because I had not checked yet. He continued calling me for seven months and I was ignoring his calls. “During this period he did not visit the restaurant and grocery. On October 6, he called me and told me that he had three things to talk about. Firstly, about his notices about the restaurant and the grocery. Secondly, he wanted to repair his Nokia N95 and thirdly he wanted to know the price of iPhone4. I promised him to check and let him know.”

Taher notified a CID staff who advised him to carry on with the inspector to find out his true aim. “I called him and told him that the price of the iPhone4 is Dh3,000 and that I will bring it to him. I asked him about his notices regarding the business, he told me that I have to approach the municipality to get a licence for the icecream fridge and to tell the concerned official that AAA had approved such a licence and that he can double check with AAA.

“I met him on October 13 after informing police. I was supplied with a recorder and an iPhone4. He came to the restaurant. I told him that one of my brothers had a grocery in Deira and that he had been fined. I was surprised when he asked me about the inspector’s name. He promised to get the fine cancelled since it had not yet been fed into the system. I told him that I have the iPhone4, so he told me to feel at ease and that he will not issue any fine until December 12, 2012. Then I asked him what if his senior inspected the grocery and found the ice-cream refrigerator.

“He replied, “Don’t be afraid, leave the matter to me.” He wrote an inspection report and left the date blank. He signed it and gave it to me saying that if any other inspector came on any day, I just need to write a close date and to show the inspector that a notice had been issued to me, so that the other inspector will not issue a violation report. He tore off the old report. I went to the car and brought him the iPhone4 and he assured me that I will not be fined in future,” he testified.

After AAA received the iPhone4, CID staff rushed to the scene and arrested him with the bogus undated inspection report.
Sergeant Khalid Mohammed repeated the same testimony.

AAA confessed to taking the iPhone from the grocery owner. However, he claimed that he was about to pay him Dh1,600 which was in his pocket as the first installment of the price.

The court adjourned the case to March 11.