Caught out � Dubai ruler finds empty desks

  | James Innes

A spot inspection of civil servants by Dubai’s ruler resulted in red faces – or it would have done had there been anyone there to get embarrassed!

Last Sunday morning in Dubai, the local ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid carried out an early morning inspection of several civil service departments. Sunday is a normal working day in Dubai and the Sheikh scheduled his surprise visit at 7.30 am, which is the start of the working day.

However, rather than finding senior officials already hard at work, a video posted to Twitter by the government’s media officer found the Sheikh in a room of empty desks, alone except for his own framed picture on the wall.

Mona Al Marri, director general of the Dubai Media Office told The National Newspaper that the ruler “certainly wanted to send a message”, and went on to say “timeliness starts at the top, and we won’t go after the employees when their bosses went there”.

Although none of the missing civil service bosses have been named, the Sheikh’s surprise inspection should have come as a surprise to nobody. Sheikh Mohammed is well-known for his early morning checks “to ensure government services are up to Dubai’s globally admired standards”.

Fortunately, immigration officials at the airport fared better. Another inspection of immigration officers at Dubai’s international airport found them all present and correct.

It does not take somebody with a crystal ball to predict that all senior civil servants in Dubai will all be in place at their desks well before the working day starts this Sunday – just in case Sheikh Mohammed decides to pay another visit. However, nine of them will not be there after the Sheikh decided to forcibly some of the older senior officials to make way for new blood. Lesson learnt?

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