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Head chef and butcher land in 7-star bribery scandal

By Eman Al Baik

The head chef and butcher of a reputed 7-star hotel in Dubai allegedly took about Dh880,000 as bribes from food and meat suppliers from March 2008, the Dubai Criminal Court heard.

The head chef, FRD, 56, Indian, is accused of entering the hotel’s electronic network and removing the names of companies which offer competitive prices and limiting purchases to certain suppliers and got bribes for buying from them.

ARM, 38, Indian, butcher, is accused of taking for himself Dh40,000 as a bribe by purchasing food that did not meet specifications, which said seafood should be supplied alive and fresh. But the butcher accepted receiving dead supplies of seafood against bribes.

Both accused harmed their employer and paid bribes to FBJ who works for the European Marine Food Company.

FRD confessed that he has been working at the hotel since 1999 and was preparing juices. He was promoted to chief cook of the hotel’s main kitchen in 2008. In a meeting with LJ, Italian cook, and FS, Austrian pastry cook, they asked him to deal with four companies for vegetable, meat and seafood supplies against a monthly pay.

“I agreed on that and started dealing with only these four companies. They used to tell me their needs and I prepared the orders via the hotel’s electronic system. The prices were higher than the market. I used to get a monthly envelope from these companies via their representatives who changed from time to time. I handed over envelopes to LJ and FS and I received between Dh5,000-6,000 monthly from them for two years.

"In May 2010, I was asked by the Financial Control department about the matter and I confessed to it. The three of us were terminated and three months later, LJ and FS were deported and I was asked to repay the whole amount of bribes Dh585,000. I paid the amount in addition to DH252,264 to the country’s treasury to the Dubai Prosecution’s favour and do not know what happened after that,” he testified.

ARM confessed to the crimes and said that he accepted bribes against accepting to receive food supplies not as per the specifications. A year after joining the hotel as a butcher he was a asked by a Filipina who works for the European Seafood company to get between Dh2,000-3,000 monthly against accepting to receive seafood not as per the specifications. He deposited a total of Dh40,000 to the country’s treasury to the Dubai Prosecution’s favour.

Yousef Ahmad Nooruddin, expert in the Financial Control Department of the Ruler’s Court testified that while checking the financial and accounting reports of the hotel he had suspicions in the purchase operations and the accused were identified being responsible for that.

They have limited the purchases to four companies although their prices of food, meat, seafood and vegetable supplies were higher than that of other companies. They have deleted the names of competitive companies from the purchase system of the hotel.

FRD obtained a total of Dh837,246 from four companies as monthly pay.

ARM obtained a total of Dh40,000 from one company as monthly pay.

The court adjourned the case to February 12.