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Press Dossier    By Date   24/03/2024 UAE: Can funds be raised legally for a needy friend? Law explained

Khaleej Times, Sun, Mar 24, 2024 | Ramadan 14, 1445

UAE: Can funds be raised legally for a needy friend? Law explained

Emirates: Question: My friend is genuinely in need of money. He lost his job recently. He wants to stay here till his children complete their school term. However, he is now completely broke. I know fundraising is illegal in the UAE, but in such cases, how can I seek help for him legally? Who should I approach?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of Federal Law No. 3 of 2021 Regarding the Organisation of Donations and Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 on Countering Rumours and Cybercrimes are applicable.

In the UAE, it is illegal for an individual, a group of individuals or an organisation to raise funds for charity without the relevant approval or license issued by the Ministry of Community Development. This is under Article 6 of the UAE Donations Law, which states,

“1. It is prohibited for a natural person to collect donations.

2. With the exception of the authorised entities, it is not permissible for any organisation to establish, organise or perform any act with the aim of collecting donations except after obtaining a permit to do so from the Competent Authority.

Furthermore, under Article 1 of the UAE Donations Law, the Ministry of Community Development is defined as the ‘Ministry’ and the Ministry of Community Development or Local Authority, as the case may be is defined as ‘Competent Authority’.

An individual or group of individuals or an organisation shall be penalised in the event of collection of funds for charity without authorisation by the Ministry. Furthermore, such an act of illegal collection of funds may also lead to the deportation of an individual. This is in accordance with Article 36(2) & (4) of the UAE Donations Law, which states,

“2. Whoever violates any of the provisions of Article (6, 12, 14,17,21,26 and 31) or uses the donation funds for purposes other than those for which they were accepted or collected, shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine not less than Dh150,000 and not exceeding Dh300,000, or one of these two penalties and the penalty is doubled in the event of recurrence.

4. In all cases, the court shall order the confiscation of the donations collected in violation of the provisions of this law, and the deportation of the foreigner after carrying out the sentence imposed on him.”

Moreover, it is a crime in the UAE if anyone collects donations illegally without a valid license or approval of authorities by using means of electronic devices and such individual may be imposed a penalty of not less than Dh200,000 and not more than Dh500,000 and/or imprisonment. This is in accordance with Article 46 of the UAE Cybercrimes Law, which states, “Calling for and Promoting the Collection of Donations Without a License:

Whoever creates, manages, or supervises a website or disseminates information on the information network or any ITE to call for or promote the collection of donations without a license approved by the competent authority or in violation of the conditions of this license shall be punished with imprisonment and/ or a fine of not less than Dh200,000 or more than Dh500,000.”

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you may not raise funds for your friend who is undergoing a financial crisis. However, you may contact a registered charitable institution in the UAE and seek their assistance to help your friend financially in the UAE. Additionally, you and/or other individuals may grant your friend a friendly loan without interest or a certain sum of money as a gift for him.

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