x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Two workers embezzled Dh1.4m from UAE Ministry of Finance

The pair exploited flaw in the electronic system to steal fees paid by applicants for services, Dubai court hears.

DUBAI // Two men have confessed to embezzling more than Dh1 million from the Ministry of Finance.

Indians M M and A A, both 24, admitted defrauding the ministry of Dh1.4m and also admitted forging 3,160 documents.

Prosecutors told Dubai Criminal Court that the pair worked at a typing-services office at the preventive medicine department at Al Baraha Hospital.

They were responsible for receiving applications and fees from customers, then paying them electronically to the ministry.

When the system crashed in February last year and specialists were sent to their office to fix it, M M worked out a way to enter applications into the system stating that they had been paid when they had not. He then involved A A in the scam.

The pair stole the money between June and August last year and admitted forging applications, writing that fees had been paid when they had not. They also confessed to a third charge of handing forged documents to customers.

A A confessed to prosecutors that his share was Dh600,000 and that he repaid all the money he took.

He added that, on September 1 last year, he asked 42-year-old A B to keep the money with him until he returned from India. A B was charged with possessing money obtained illegally, which he denied in court on Wednesday.

A A was arrested at Dubai International Airport upon his return from India.

The scam was discovered when an applicant looked into why his application had been rejected when he had paid all the fees.

He lodged an official complaint and visited the Ministry of Finance, after which an investigation revealed the crime.

The next hearing is on April 2.

salamir@thenational.ae