Employee convicted in scholarship scam

An Arab employee of the Scholarship Department here has been sentenced, in absentia, to 10 years in jail for abusing his 
position and embezzling Dh3.1 million worth of airfare meant for students on scholarships to study abroad.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 17 Jul 2013, 1:21 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 7:58 AM

The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court ordered him to return the amount and imposed an equivalent amount as a fine on him. It also ordered his deportation after serving his jail term.

The court, however, acquitted three Arab nationals, including his wife and two employees of an airline, of abetting the crime.

The case was brought to light when a girl student approached the Scholarship and Foreign Cultural Relations Department to get the airfare due to her for travelling abroad for study. She discovered that the amount had already been encashed from the treasury.

When she reported the matter to the department handling the applications of students on scholarships, she found out that the prime accused had swindled the money granted for the flight tickets of other beneficiaries as well. In fact, he had also got the airfare even in the names of students, who had already graduated from universities and completed their study programmes, issued from the treasury.

After investigation, the Public Prosecution referred the main accused for trial in absentia as he had left the country before being arrested.

It also referred two employees from an airline office who cooperated with the victim — in this case, the Scholarship Department — and the wife of the defendant.

The court referred the case to a specialised committee, which found out that the defendant had forged official documents and got the money for flight tickets in the names of 429 students, of which 249 tickets were encashed with the help of the second accused and 18 with the third accused.

At the hearing, the second and third accused denied any link to the crime or facilitating the main accused in swindling the money.

They confirmed that the applications were official, stamped and signed as per the rules, and bore all stamps required. Moreover, it was impossible to find out that the students whose names were listed were fictitious.

The fourth accused, the main defendant’s wife, said she had no idea about the case. In reply to a question, she confirmed that $50,000 was seized from her possession, but said that was her personal money as she worked as an office employee drawing a monthly salary of Dh15,000.


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