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Forgery of Joint Stock Company Documents

“A case successfully held by our office”

Forgery of a joint-stock company’s documents is considered a felony, punishable by imprisonment for a maximum period of 5 years.

The above crime falls under the broader legal category ‘customary document forgery’, since the employees in joint stock companies, (or those who issue such documents) are not categorized as ‘public employees’, which is a necessary characteristic to classify a document as ‘official’.

The differentiating factor between an official document, and a customary document, is the element of ‘damage’, since this is one of the key factors in determining forgery. For official documents, the element of damage can be achieved merely by changing a statement of truth within the document. For customary documents, the element of harm (resulting directly from the alleged forgery) must also exist for the crime to be punishable.

When judging a conviction, the court must show the element of damage in the alleged forgery, otherwise, its ruling may be subject to appeal due to shortcomings in the judge’s assessment.

Herein we refer to one of the cases handled by our office, where the chairman of a company had filed a complaint against the delegated Managing Director, accusing him of forging their company’s documents. His main argument centered around resolutions taken by the company’s board of directors, granting him the right to sign contracts and agreements with other companies and his alleged action in exercising these rights by using the forged documents.

Link to case

The Public Prosecution questioned both parties, and the complainant repeated the above argument, whilst the accused maintained his authority to sign all contracts on behalf of the company, since its incorporation and further added that this case was filed by his father in law, due to personal family disputes; that he did not commit that incident in questions; and that the resolutions taken at this meeting would not add or detract anything to his existing authority. He concluded that he has no incentive to commit forgery and that no harm has occurred, since he was acting within his capacity as managing director when representing the company.

The investigations concluded that the accused indeed did have the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the company since its inception, and that the meeting of the board of directors in question did not grant him any additional powers since then. In summary, the crime of forgery was not established.

Accordingly, Maher Milad Iskandar, the accused’s lawyer, requested to archive the case documents, since no felony was proved.
Finally, the prosecution found that the crime was not committed, since it lacked the element of ‘damage’, which is clearly necessitated by jurisprudence as a means of establishing forgery in customary documents. Further, the accused was already authorized to carry out the acts in question since the company’s establishment, as evidenced by the company’s commercial register, and therefore no incentive for him to forge company documents as alleged by the complainant.

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Written By

Noor Mahdy - Attorney at Law

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