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03 March 2024

Witness fails to reach court in Nakheel case

Witness fails to reach court in Nakheel case. (AFP)

By Mohammed Elsidafy

The Dh44 million Nakheel Waterfront corruption case was adjourned yesterday so that testimony could be heard from prosecution witness Mohammed Mustafa Hussein, an auditor at the Financial Audit Department of the Dubai Ruler's Court.

Hussein sent his apologies for failing to appear yesterday, citing reasons related to his work.

Two of the accused – former Waterfront CEO MJ, 43, and former commercial manager MR, 44, who are both Australian – attended the hearing. Two other defendants – Australians AJ, 44, the developer's former legal manager, and businessman AR – are on the run.

Lawyer Issa bin Haidar – representing Waterfront, a division of Nakheel – asked for charges to be brought against a legal office that allegedly helped to transfer the funds at the centre of the case to the defendants. Bin Haidar also submitted a civil complaint list, and defence lawyer Ali Al Shamsi asked for time to examine the list.

The public prosecution accuses MJ, MR and AJ of damaging Waterfront's interests, in conjunction with AR, by illegally obtaining Dh44.1m, of which the ex-CEO's share was Dh22.1m. The funds allegedly belonged to a company called Sunland.

Prosecutors say AR told Sunland's manager that he owned land which the company wanted to buy when in fact the land was owned by Waterfront. At an earlier session the court released MJ and MR on bail of Dh1m each. Their passports were withheld along with those of their sponsors.


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