Construction accountant accused of pocketing $1m owed to his company

An Indian national working for a construction firm in Oman has been accused of defrauding his employers of Dh3.7m ($1m) by changing his company’s account number to his own in an invoice.

Hari Kumar, a 56-year old accountant, had worked as for Gulf Construction and Building Material Company since 2011. The missing money came to light after he suddenly left Oman.

Sameer Al Battashi, joint managing director of the company, told UAE newspaper, The National: "The case is in the courts now, but he has sent the invoice of the last three payments to our client for the construction of a commercial building in Muscat. The money was paid into his account.

"We did not know about it until last week when he left the country after asking for one-week emergency leave."

Gulf Construction was alerted when the client informed them that it had not received any receipts for the money paid.

The company is a joint venture owned by an Omani businessman and a UAE investor. The Omani partner said the accountant who defrauded the company was a "loyal and hardworking employee".

The National reports the case at the labour court in Muscat. An official there said more than half of crimes, such as embezzlement and faking identity information, are committed by middle managers. Though the number of fraud cases which go to court is falling in Oman, fraud remains a problem for the ministry of manpower which takes it seriously.

A ministry spokesman said some companies tried to save costs by having their books audited by external auditors only once a year instead of every quarter, but this meant discrepancies were not noticed immediately.

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