UAE widens scope of penal code
Stiffer anti-corruption laws cover acts of domestic as well as foreign bribery now
The amendments have brought anti-corruption regulations in the UAE more in line with international regulations.
UAE’s anti-corruption laws with regard to bribery have been further strengthened, tightening the noose for any form of violation, as decreed by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
More wide-ranging than before, the penal code now extends to cover acts of foreign as well as domestic bribery, and includes public and private sectors and international organisations, a decree published in the official gazette says.
The provisions also now apply outside the territory of the UAE to any person who commits any of the bribery offences set out in the penal code, if the criminal or victim is a UAE citizen or if the crime is committed by an employee of the public or private sector of the UAE or if it involves public property.
Article 82 of the code now reads: “The court may, upon issuing a conviction for a crime or misdemeanor, confiscate the things and money seized as a result of the crime, or which have been used or intended to be used in the crime, without prejudice to the rights of bona fide third parties.
President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan decreed changes to the UAE Penal Code that boost the country’s anti-corruption legislation.
The penal code is now more wide-ranging than before, covering both foreign and domestic acts of bribery. The decree covers both the public and private sectors, as well as international organisations.
The amendments, which took effect immediately, bring the UAE’s anti-corruption laws more in line with other jurisdictions, having been expanded to cover acts to bribe foreign public officials.
Article 201 states that a pardon shall be granted to any offender involved in one of the crimes provided for under the chapter, who informs judicial or administrative authorities of the commission of any crime before its detection.
If he, however, informs authorities after the detection of the crime, the court may exempt him from punishment if the information provided leads to the arrest of the other offenders.
Under the same article, the court shall — at the request of the public prosecutor — decide to commute or replace the penalty with a fine of not less than Dh100,000 and not exceeding Dh10 million, or to exempt those who have been brought to the judicial or administrative authorities for any crime related to any external or internal security or a crime considered an offence against state security in the penal laws, when it leads to the disclosure of the perpetrators or proves they committed the crime or results in the capture of one of them.
The attorney-general alone shall request the court before which the case shall be brought, to apply the clause in the preceding paragraph, if the request relates to the supreme interest of the state or any other national interest. If a judgement is issued in the case, the attorney-general may submit the request to the court that issued it before or during execution
According to Article 170 of the changed Penal Code, any of the following shall be considered secrets of the nation’s defence:
■ Military, political, economic, industrial, scientific or social security-related information or other information, which are unknown except to persons who have such a capacity by virtue of their position or status, and which the interest of the country’s defence requires that it remain undisclosed to others.
■ Correspondence, written instruments, documents, drawings, maps, designs, pictures, coordinates, and other things whose disclosure might lead to the divulging of information such as that referred to in the preceding clause, and in which the interest of the country’s defence requires that it shall remain classified to persons other than those assigned to preserve or use such.
■ News and information related to the armed forces, the Ministry of Interior and security services, as well as their formations, manoeuvres, ammunition, supplies, personnel and other things affecting military affairs, as well as war and security plans, unless written permission to publish and announce such things has been issued by competent authorities.
■ News and information related to measures and procedures which are adopted to detect crimes provided for in this chapter, and the arrest of culprits as well as news and information related to the investigation and trial proceedings, if the announcement thereof, is prohibited by the investigation authority or the competent court.