President’s son in hot water
Central African Republic (CAR) President Francois Bozize has had police detain his son for several days for not paying an 8 million Central African CFA franc (US$15,250) hotel bill, a police source said on Saturday. “Captain Kevin Bozize is being detained ... on the orders of the head of state,” the source said on condition of anonymity. “He spent a few days at the Ledger Plaza hotel and did not pay his bills for the room, meals and other services. His bills are estimated to be nearly 8 million francs.” The younger Bozize was detained on Tuesday and is being held at the investigative arm of the national police (SRI). “When the hotel manager asked him to pay the bills, he refused. Having been informed of the situation, his father summoned both of them and in front of the manager he [Kevin] confirmed that he stayed at the hotel and said he paid all the bills. Both he and the manager were detained by the SRI, but after the facts were verified, the manager was freed.”
Check bouncers set free
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has released about 290 people convicted of bouncing checks from prison, the state news agency said on Saturday, the latest step by one of the world’s richest countries to help its citizens deal with their debts. Signing checks without sufficient funds to back them is a criminal offense under UAE law and the order to release citizens who had defaulted on check payments was given last month by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan. In May, the president allocated about 5 million dirhams (US$1.4 million) to settle defaulted loans for each indebted Emirati. The UAE central bank told commercial banks in August to extend maturities on certain personal loans held by UAE citizens by more than four years. The state news agency said on Saturday authorities have given certificates to those released from jail protecting them from future criminal prosecution over their cases. However, an official quoted by the agency said creditors could still try to recover debts through civil courts. The latest amnesty does not extend to all debtors. A number of foreigners, most of them real estate developers and businessmen who worked in Dubai during its economic boom several years ago, remain in prison after being convicted and sentenced over bounced checks.