$2.4m scam: Rulers’ signatures forged to con American

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ForgeryDubai: Three men have been accused of swindling Dh2.1 million from a chemical engineer after forging the signature of the president and six rulers on what they claimed to be an $80 million government loan to finance projects.

The three defendants, a Jordanian and two Nigerians, were said to have tricked the Ghanaian engineer and claimed to her that they were capable of providing her with a government loan to the tune of $80 million (around Dh295 million) to finance projects in petrol, gas, real estate and telecommunication.

Prosecution records identified the defendants as a 58-year-old Jordanian office supervisor, A.S. and 40-year-old cleaner, S.O., and 36-year-old hairdresser, S.A.

Chief Prosecutor Khalid Al Zarouni, Head of Bur Dubai Prosecution, accused the trio of drafting a forged governmental contract that bore the signatures of The President and the six members of the Supreme Council and providing it to the 54-year-old Ghanaian woman, A.A.

According to the charge sheet, Al Zarouni accused the defendants of cheating the chemical engineer and talking her into paying them more than Dh2.1 million after claiming that the government approved a loan of $80 million to finance her projects.

Prosecution records said the trio alleged to A.A. that they were capable of getting her a guaranteed loan for 10 years without interest. The defendants claimed to the woman, according to prosecution records, that the loan was meant to finance different projects but she had to pay them three per cent as guarantee.

The defendants firmly refuted their accusations when they entered a not guilty plea before the Dubai Court of First Instance. “I had nothing to do with this incident,” argued S.A. when he defended himself before presiding judge Mohammad Jamal.

Meanwhile S.O., who is identified as a cleaner in prosecution records, said: “I did not do anything… I am just an engineer.” A.A. testified that the incident started when she received a call on her Ghanaian number from a British person, who identified himself as Michael, in April 2012.

“The so-called Michael phoned me from a British number when I was in Ghana. He asked me to prepare an investment study for a project in the UAE. I e-mailed the study to him. A week later he claimed that the UAE government had approved my study and was willing to finance it for $50 million. He invited me to the UAE to meet A.S., who pretended to be the government’s representative. Before I arrived, the Jordanian, who had claimed to be Emirati, asked me to pay $50,000 as consultation fees. I wired him the money… a few days later when I arrived in Dubai, S.O. picked me up from the airport. He drove me to a fancy office in Shaikh Zayed Road. He claimed that it was A.S.’s office.

“A.S. claimed to me that the government was eager to deal with me and that they were fascinated with my experience in the petrol industry. He claimed to me that they would increase the financing up to $80 million. He asked me to pay him $12,000 to buy gifts for some officials, whom A.S. claimed had been working on the project. I also went with him to a mall and purchased four laptops for those supposed officials. Later I visited the office again and I signed the contract which they claimed bore the signatures of the UAE’s seven rulers,” A.A. claimed to prosecutors.

Records said the woman discovered that she had been duped by the defendants when they kept on asking her to pay more money.

An Emirati policeman said the defendants were arrested later.

“The Nigerians confirmed that the Jordanian was the one who handed A.A. the contract that bore the forged signatures. A.S. claimed that he didn’t cheat the woman and took the money for business purposes,” claimed the policeman. The court reconvenes in September. (GN)

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