DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday its Public Prosecution office would be allowed to investigate ministers and senior officials suspected of wrongdoing in order to enhance accountability.
The public prosecutor can receive complaints against any senior official and they will be referred for investigation in coordination with the UAE’s federal government, a statement published by the Dubai Media office said, citing a presidential decree.
The decree also allows the attorney general to ban officials under investigation from travelling and freeze their money if necessary, it added.
Ministers and senior officials weren’t exempt from investigation before but the move is aimed at strengthening the legal process to improve accountability, a legal source told Reuters.
UAE is ranked among the least corrupt countries in the Middle East and North African region in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.
Globally it is ranked 21 on the index.
The UAE, home to the Middle East financial hub Dubai, has also worked over the last few years to overcome a perception it is a hot spot for illicit money.
In February the government created an Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing.
(This story corrects the day to Tuesday)
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)