Dubai: Deyaar’s American former CEO, currently facing four trials for abuse of office and appropriating over Dh300 million in public funds, can walk out on bail following nearly 52 months in provisional detention.
Dubai Criminal Court’s Chief Justice Ahmad Abdullah issued a decision granting conditional bail to 45-year-old American-Lebanese Z.S., who has been in provisional detention for four years, three months and two weeks, since his arrest on March 23, 2008.
Since more than five weeks, Z.S. has failed to attend any hearing of his four trials due to his alleged ailment ever since he reportedly went on hunger strike in Dubai Central Jail where he is being detained. Yesterday’s hearing before the Dubai Court of First Instance was the latest to be missed by Z.S. In this particular case Z.S. denied allowing Thermo, a construction services company, to win a tender illegally so he (Z.S.) could unlawfully gain Dh20 million.
A 61-year-old Argentinean K.M., a partner in an IT company, Thermo’s former project manager, a Canadian, F.L., and Thermo’s ex-general manager, a British, A.S., was also charged withwith unlawfully gaining Dh10 million from the tender.
“The court has decided to implement the chief justice’s decision to grant bail to Z.S., who to walk out of detention, has to place his passport and that of an Emirati guarantor in the court’s custody. Z.S. also has to deposit Dh5 million financial bond before his release. Meanwhile, K.M. has also been granted conditional bail. His passport and that of an Emirati guarantor will be retained by the court in addition to Dh500,000 financial bond. Z.S. and K.M. will be banned from travelling,” said Presiding Judge Hamad Abdul Latif Abdul Jawad yesterday.
Different court panels before which Z.S. is being prosecuted have rejected several bail requests that were lodged by Z.S.’s lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi during the past two months.
Advocate Al Shamsi repeatedly explained before Judges Abdul Jawad, Maher Salama Al Mahdi and Mohammad Jamal Kamel [each of whom solely presides over a different panel], that his client has been missing hearings ‘due to his dangerously ailing health situation’.
Al Shamsi told the court that his client suffers heart problems and joint disease that requires special medical care, which the lawyer said “is unavailable in the detention facility clinic”.
K.M.’s lawyer Eisa Bin Haidar has been persistently attempting to convince the court for granting bail to his client who is a cancer patient. K.M. has also been in detention for nearly four years.
During Thursday’s hearing, advocate Bin Haidar defended: “Law enforcement procedures were carried out unlawfully against K.M. In the original accusation sheet, my client had one charge. When the court returned the case file to the prosecution to enlist two more suspects, prosecutors modified charges against my client’s and added four more new accusations. This is unlawful. The accusations are baseless and groundless.”
Bin Haidar asked the court to acquit K.M. or to delegate three experts from the Ministry of Justice to revise the financial report submitted by the Dubai Financial Control Department.
Z.S. is expected to produce his defence when the court reconvenes on July 23.
Until this article went to print, it was not clear whether the defendants were released on bail.