‘Waterfront ex-managers abused powers’

DUBAI — An auditor with the Financial Control Department in the Ruler’s Court told a court on Tuesday that a former executive manager of Nakheel Waterfront Project, an Australian, abused his powers in the sale of a plot.

By Mary Nammour

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Published: Thu 21 Oct 2010, 12:28 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:31 PM

Mohammed Moustapha gave a lengthy statement in the Court of First Instance in which he said that a former Waterfront commercial operation manager, also an Australian, acted independently of his superiors when fixing the price of a plot and, accordingly, it was sold later based on the data he had changed.

“We also learnt that the former executive manager had an agreement with the complainant — David Brown (owner of Sun Land Co.) — to pay a commission of Dh44.1 million. In that agreement, special benefits and advantages were given without the administration’s knowledge. Our sources of information are from the Waterfront, Sun Land Co. and two private advocacy firms.”

Moustapha was quizzed by lawyers Salem Shaaly, Ali Shamsy, Eissa bin Haidar and Presiding Judge Al Saeed Bargouth.

“Through investigation, we came to know that none at the executive level in Nakheel was aware of the sale scheme prepared by the former commercial manager.”

Asked whether the former executive manager of Nakheel Waterfront was involved in the scheme, the auditor said, “We tracked down some transfers of sums from a law firm to another law firm. This was transferred to three accounts outside the UAE. One of the accounts belonged to the former Waterfront executive manager, who is on trial.”

Moustapha said there had been excesses in the sale of that particular plot. “That plot was sold for less than its market value and the buyer, Sun Land Co, was given an additional stretch for free. We did not know whether it was a pattern of sale practice because it was the last available plot offered for sale.”

The case involves three former managers of Nakheel Waterfront, one of them an absconder. A fourth defendant, manager of an investment company, has been on trial in absentia. All of them are Australians.

The former executive manager, the legal manager (runaway) and the commercial operations manager of the Waterfront project are accused of damaging Nakheel’s interests by making Dh44.1 million in illegal commissions when they were managing and marketing plots in the project.

The three Nakheel managers are also accused of abusing their powers and using confidential information pertaining to available plots in Waterfront to make illegal gains by conning Sun Land Co.

Court records show that all four defendants managed to defraud Sun Land Co. of Dh44.1 million after the runaway defendant, manager of Prudentia Investment Co., pretended he owned a plot in the Waterfront and wanted the amount to cede ownership.

Presiding Judge Bargouth adjourned the hearing to December 5 to hear the statement of the Sun Land owner.


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