Using his IT skills to steal $2.2 million.

Hana is a journalist from Lebanon, who has worked in her home country and in the UAE for the likes of Fortune Arabia and Arabian Business. Naturally curious, she took her English Literature degree into the world of business journalism nine years ago, and found out that she could actually get paid for it. Entrepreneurship, innovation, and the courage to try are at the core of her writing.

An ex-IT employee has been sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling more than Dhs8.3 million ($2.2 million) from the Dubai Department of Economic Development.

The 30-year old Egyptian employee used his IT skills to abuse his access privilege to log into its electronic system and tamper with the fees of renewal and cancellation of trade licenses. He falsified data related to the fees due for Dubai Municipality and then issue payment receipts, which he handed to customers to settle at the DED.

The ex-government employee was also found guilty by the Court of First Instance of embezzlement, forgery, and illegally accessing an e-system and was ordered to pay Dhs150,000 in fines.

Four other men, three Egyptians and a Syrian, were also found guilty of aiding and abetting him and were each sentenced to one year in jail as well as paying a Dhs40,000 fine.

Moreover, all five men will be deported upon completing their sentence, according to the court’s order.

The director of the legal affairs department at the DED said that they first learned about the matter when a customer checked with the registration section about the fees.

That customer said he had been given a big discount on the fees for license renewal and was inquiring whether the department did such discounts or whether there must have been a mistake.

According to a report from the DED, as many as 901 companies benefitted of discounts worth more than Dhs8.3 million, illegally given by the main defendant.