Sharjah food inspector takes Dh504,000 bribe to release contaminated meat
Sharjah - During the court hearing, the food inspector denied the accusation.
By Amira Agarib
Published: Mon 9 Apr 2018, 12:00 AM
Last updated: Mon 9 Apr 2018, 8:34 AM
An Arab - who was working as food inspector at the Sharjah Municipality - has been charged by the Sharjah Criminal Court with receiving Dh504,000 bribery from two Asians to release veal meat contaminated with salmonella.
The Sharjah Criminal Court, presided over by Judge Mahmood Abu Baker, accused the Arab of forging signatures of officials to release the unknown quantities of contaminated meat after receiving bribery from two Asian men - who have also been charged - and committing an act that endangers public health.
During the court hearing, the food inspector denied the accusation. His 56-year-old father, who attended the hearing in a wheelchair, said his son - who is in his twenties - was never offered a bribe. The lawyers of the suspects requested the court to adjourn the case to hear testimonies of municipality and police officials, who had dealt with the probe.
The lawyers requested the court to release the accused on bail. However, the presiding judge refused the plea and ordered that they will stay behind bars.
The case came to light when the Preventive Section at the Sharjah Municipality received information that the Arab man - employed in the inspection section - had been releasing the veal meat without being inspected and that he was taking bribes. After verifying the information, the police raided his house in Ajman and found laptops, two cars as well as banks receipt, which proved that he had deposited a lot of money in his account between 2015 and 2017.
During police interrogation, the Arab man had admitted that he forged the signatures of officials, stamped the documents with official seal and helped the two accused get the meat consignment - shipped from India - released. He admitted that for two years, he used to receive money from the two Asians - who worked for a company that distributed the meat - and the total bribe he got was Dh504,000.
One of the Asian accused said that he and his father had offered bribe to the Arab and handed over money to him to ensure the process to release the meat consignment was speeded up. He said that the meat was not contaminated and it was safely distributed.
The forensic laboratory results submitted to the court showed that the Arab had forged the signatures of two municipality officials.
The lawyer of the Arab man told Khaleej Times that the quantity of meat which was imported is unknown and no laboratory tests had been conducted to prove that it was laced with salmonella. No meat was seized or examined during the three years when the accused released the meat consignments, he pointed out.
The lawyer of the two Asian accused said that her clients are just distributors and that the owner of the distributing company - which imported the meat consignment - should be questioned. She said the municipality officials should also be asked if they have evidence that the meat was contaminated and any such consignment was seized.