Two Syrian expatriate men have been sentenced to five years in jail by a Doha criminal court for using a lost debit card to settle traffic violations through the government website.

Local Arabic daily Arrayah reported that the court also ordered their deportation upon serving the sentence.

The two defendants used to work as public relation officers at a car rental and they used the debit card of another person to pay the fines for traffic violations registered in the company's name.

The issue came to light when an accountant at the company, which owned the lost debit card, received three SMS from the bank indicating debit of a total of QR4,200 in three transactions through e-government. Since he had not authorised anyone to make the payments, he called the bank concerned to inquire about the incident and cancelled the card.

Eventually, the issue was reported to the police. Investigation pointed to one of the defendants, who ultimately admitted his mistake and apologised to the owner of the card, repaying him the sum he had withdrawn.

Investigations had also revealed that both defendants used fraudulent ways to settle accumulated traffic fines using money grabbed from others.

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