NWRC student was dismissed due to fraud

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At least one student was dismissed from the ‘Tech’ following several investigations into fraud at the local College between 2012 and 2015.

Meanwhile, action was also taken against a member of the University of Ulster’s staff and a period of monitoring initiated as a result of suspected fraud at that institution during the same period.

However, no action was required to combat an attempt to dishonestly squeeze money out of the local third level institution on another occasion.

The blundering fraudster had helpfully alerted the authorities by approaching the University’s former bank and setting the alarm bells ringing.

The Sentinel recently revealed how six fraud investigations had taken place at the North West Regional College (NWRC) over the past three years with a further four during the same period at the University of Ulster.

Now Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry has provided specific details about a number of these fraud investigations.

Of one investigation at the ‘Tech’ in 2013/14 it was recorded: “Investigation complete - student dismissed. Money recovered in full.”

And of another at the same institution in the same year it was merely recorded: “Investigation complete and funds repaid.”

A further investigation occurred at NWRC in 2014/15.

In this instance it was recorded: “Student is no longer on the programme.

“All monies have been recovered from the student.”

Further information as also provided about two fraud investigations at the University of Ulster in 2012/13 and in 2014/15.

For example, action was taken against one member of staff under the University’s capability procedure and a period of monitoring of the individual’s performance was instigated in the earlier case.

However, no action was required in the latter case as the “attempted fraud was unsuccessful as the fraudster approached the University’s former bank.”

Details of the remainder of the alleged frauds at the ‘Tech’ were not provided as recording requirements changed during the period in question.

Dr Farry explained: “For the 2012/13 year, further education colleges were not required to hold records on the final outcomes or actions taken in relation to fraud cases. However, this information was recorded for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 years.”

There were also fraud probes at Queen’s and other ‘Techs’ province-wide.

The Learning Minister provided the information in response to an Assembly Question tabled by UUP MLA Robin Swann.