Theft and fraud probes at South West College

South West College
South West College

A total of four fraud investigations have been launched at the South West College, which has campuses at Dungannon and Cookstown, in the past three years.

The probes centred upon the theft of assets such as computer components, as well as the alteration to a cheque. In one of the incidents cash worth £654.64 was stolen, and in another cash to the value of £915 was taken.

The South West College is required by law to protect the public funds it administers.

The details which were released last week at the Northern Ireland Assembly reveal that all six colleges across the region have carried out probes.

However, the largest number has been at the Belfast Metropolitan College with 15 in total.

The lowest number of investigations carried out at the South West College, which also has campuses in Omagh and Enniskillen.

The figures were obtained after it was reported late last year a probe was being carried out at the Belfast Met into allegations of fraud.

A spokesperson for the Department for Employment and Learning said: “The department has been notified of suspected fraudulent activity at Belfast Metropolitan College in line with fraud notification reporting procedures.”

The figures obtained regarding fraud investigations over the past three years show the Met College carried out three in 2012/2013, seven in 2013/2014 and five to date in 2014/2015.

The spokesman went on to say that colleges “record the following types of incidents as frauds: ‘cases of actual, attempted and suspected thefts and frauds reported by Arm’s Length Bodies [ALBs]”.

They said: “The incidents reported by colleges include occurrences perpetrated by staff, external parties or students.

“Thirty of the 47 incidents recorded as ‘fraud’ were theft of assets.

“In the vast majority of incidents, PSNI were involved or notified. In all incidents bar three the investigations have been completed.

“Where appropriate college procedures and security measures have been adjusted to enhance security.”