Dubai has issued a new law that will impose tough penalties on individuals convicted of corruption.

The law was issued by UAE vice president and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum as ruler of Dubai with immediate effect.

The government aims to use the new law to protect and safeguard public and private money by imposing prison sentences of five to 20 years – although jail terms will end once the convicted individual either returns the money or agrees on a settlement with the debtors.

To help convicted persons to recover the funds they owe, the government will give prisoners access to external communications such as telephones, fax machines and the internet.

There have been various high profile corruption arrests in Dubai over the past 18 months. Many have involved senior executives at Dubai government-related entities such as Dubai World and Dubai Holding as the emirate’s property market collapsed (MEED 9:10:09).