Handing over a Power of Attorney is no decision to be taken lightly
Anyone who is in business (or simply lives) in the UAE has probably had to issue a Power of Attorney at some stage. This is particularly applicable to those who operate a business and who travel frequently. Be warned though, handing over a Power of Attorney can grant all of your rights and responsibilities to another and this power can be tempting to even the most trusted parties.
This month, we saw a British businessman defrauded when he gave a Power of Attorney to a staff member he had known and trusted for years. While he was traveling to the UK, his trusted colleague used the POA to drain the company bank accounts and leave the UAE with cash in hand. It is not the loss of funds that is the primary issue but the related consequences, such as the inability to pay financial obligations, staff and banks, leading to bounced cheque and other criminal cases. The ramifications can lead to the imprisonment of an innocent party and there is no legal defence for that person.
Although in the UAE, anyone misusing a POA would be charged with fraud, it is usually too late to take action and once they have a absconded, the only avenue remaining is the issuance of an Interpol notice.
When granting a Power of Attorney, individuals should always seek to protect and indemnify themselves as much as possible against fraud. One should be extra cautious when granting a POA to non family members and especially those who are easily able to leave the UAE.