x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Five-year jail term for Dubai embezzler on the run

An accountant for a Dubai college who embezzled more than Dh15m is sentenced to five years in jail, but he's still on the run.

DUBAI // An accountant who went on the run after embezzling more than Dh15 million from a Dubai college has been sentenced to five years in prison, ordered to repay the money and fined a further Dh15m.

AD, a 37-year-old Indian who is still on the run, pocketed the money from 197 cheques issued by the college to pay its bills from companies including Du and Dewa. He doctored the cheques to make it appear as though he were the intended recipient.

He forged nine cheques worth Dh4.7m issued to Dewa and 48 cheques worth Dh3.9m to Du, 75 cheques worth Dh4.4m to a shipping company and a further 60 cheques worth Dh2.6m the college had issued to cover various expenses.

The accountant, who was responsible for depositing cheques from parents of students, also embezzled a further Dh159,000, though court records did not explain who the intended recipient of these funds was.

He started working at the college in 2005, but began to embezzle its funds only from 2010. He fled the country in 2011, leaving from Dubai International Airport, and is thought to have returned to India and invested some of the money into property.

He fled shortly after the college hired an auditor.

"When we asked him for the documents he kept stalling claiming there was an error in the electronic system," said RH, the 71-year-old British director of the college, who checked the system and found it was working properly.

By the time the audit had uncovered the embezzlement the accountant had already left the country.

During the trial at the Criminal Court prosecutors said the accountant had also invested some of the money in a plot of land at Dubai Marina.

salamir@thenational.ae