Former UN translator attempted to bribe a driving test instructor with a fifty euro note

By Brendan Grehan

A FORMER UN translator tried to bribe a driving test instructor with €50, Tallaght District Court has heard.

Zyhan Sharif had failed her driving test four times and was sitting it again when she offered the examiner the cash.

Tallaght Courthouse 3 resized

The instructor reported the incident to her superior.

Sharif, aged 51, with an address at The Deanery, Celbridge, County Kildare, had pleaded not guilty to offering an official an inducement to pass a driving test, at the Road Safety Authority, Broomhill Industrial Estate, Tallaght, on October 28, 2016.

Driving tester Elizabeth Bowes told the court that when she got into Sharif’s car there was a tissue box on the dashboard. She said she thought this was unusual but did not think much more of it.

As Sharif drove around the first bend, the tissue box moved and there was a €50 note underneath it.

Ms Bowes said Sharif told her, “Thanks for everything. Thanks for being so nice to me.” She responded saying: “I get paid my salary and don’t take gifts.”

Ms Bowes said Sharif told her: “This is my fifth time sitting the test. Just take it anyway.” Ms Bowes explained to Sharif that she could not accept gifts and she would have to report it.

Sharif’s counsel, Stephen Montgomery BL, put it to Ms Bowes that the money was a tip, in the same way that a person would tip a taxi driver.

He added that Sharif was not asking for anything.

Ms Bowes said she could not accept any gifts or tips.

Sharif claimed she was making a kind gesture as Ms Bowes had been so nice to her, and there was “no malice” in what she had done.

The solicitor for the DPP, Michael Durkan put it to Sharif she was sitting the test for a fifth time and was trying to persuade Ms Bowes to let her pass.

Sharif denied this was the case. She said it was a little gift from “woman to woman” and she had not offered anything to the male testers.

The court heard Sharif was a PhD student and was working in an Irish university as a translator.

She had worked for the UN as well as the International Red Cross and had no previous convictions.

Judge McNamara said the accused had said in her culture it would be normal for women to give each other gifts and she had offered the money as a “token of gratitude” and a “gesture of thanks”.

She said she found the facts proven but was willing to allow the accused to make a charitable donation.

Judge McNamara struck the case out after Sharif paid €500 to charity.

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