Dubai: An auditor of the Dubai College has been sentenced to five years in jail in abstensia and fined the Dh15.77 million he is accused of embezzling from the college.

The theft, which took place over a period of 16 months from June 2010, came to light in November last year. The accused has the right to request a retrial under the criminal procedure law if he is arrested or hands himself in to the court.

The man was found guilty of issuing 200 cheques on behalf of the college and pocketing the amount. It is believed he replaced the beneficiaries’ names by leaving a space between the letters then signing his own name as the beneficiary, the manager claimed to prosecutors.

He issued cheques to du, Dewa and DHL, got the manager’s signature and then wrote his own name on the cheques and cashed them.

The Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the 37-year-old Indian auditor, A.D., of abusing his job at the college, embezzling money and forging official documents.

The court also ordered the accused — who is at large — to repay Dh15.77 million he stole from the college.

“The accused will also be sacked from his job. He will be deported after serving his punishment after his arrest,” said Presiding Judge Ali Atiyyah Sa’ad.

The Public Funds Prosecution charged the man with forging nine cheques to Dewa worth Dh4.7 million, 48 cheques to du worth Dh3.9 million, 75 cheques to DHL worth Dh4.3 million, and 60 cheques to various beneficiaries worth Dh2.59 million.

The British manager of the college told the court that the incident was discovered when the college hired an external financial auditor.

“When the defendant was asked to provide the financial auditor with all the books and records, A.D. claimed that the system crashed. He alleged that the system repeatedly gave discrepancies in the numbers due to that glitch. The suspect kept on stalling us until November last year. I suspected his attitude and asked the college’s technicians to check whether the system had crashed or malfunctioned. The financial auditor discovered that the suspect forged more than 200 cheques and pocketed their amounts. The defendant used to replace the beneficiaries’ names by leaving space between the letters then inking his own name as the beneficiary,” the manager claimed to prosecutors.