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Kano Court remands three Judges, workers for N500 million fraud

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
20 January 2023   |   4:07 am
A Kano Chief Magistrate Court, Gyadi-Gyadi division, has ordered remand of three Sharia Court Judges and 12 other judicial workers at Correctional Centre over alleged theft of about N500 million. The 15 accused persons are standing trial before Chief Magistrate Mustapha Sa’ad Datti on four count-charge including criminal conspiracy, joint act, criminal breach of trust…

A Kano Chief Magistrate Court, Gyadi-Gyadi division, has ordered remand of three Sharia Court Judges and 12 other judicial workers at Correctional Centre over alleged theft of about N500 million.

The 15 accused persons are standing trial before Chief Magistrate Mustapha Sa’ad Datti on four count-charge including criminal conspiracy, joint act, criminal breach of trust by public service and theft. The offences are contrary to sections 97, 79, 315 and 289 of Kano State penal code and punishable under the law.

The accused judicial staff of Kano State Shari’a Court of Appeal are court registrars, cashiers and other external collaborators. The state Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission are prosecuting the suspects.

During trial, the prosecuting counsel, Zaharaddeen Hamisu Kofar Mata, told the court that the judicial workers forged letter head papers of Kano Sharia Court and signatures of the two signatories to the court’s Stanbic IBTC bank, to fraudulently withdraw N484, 067,327, 07 kobo.

The anti-corruption lawyer also told the court how the accused perpetrated another financial fraud to criminally facilitate the withdrawal of N96, 250, 000.00 from Kano State Pension Fund Trustee to the Account of Shari’a Court and subsequently siphoned same amount into different private accounts.

According to Kofar Mata, the judicial workers under probe created 15 fake civil servants’ death benefit files and fraudulently convinced and claimed the cash benefits from the pension board.

In the First Information Report (FIR), read before the court, the prosecuting counsel read: “ On August 20, 2021 an official complaint was received at the Commission from Kano State ministry of justice, that sometime ago in the year 2020/2021, Bashir Ali Kurawa “M”, Saadatu Umar “f”, Tijjani Abdullahi “m”, Maryam Jibrin Garba “f”, Shamsu Sani “m” and you Hussaina Iman “f” all committed an offence of criminal conspiracy, in which Hussaina Imam, who used his official position as cashier in the Kano State Sharia Court of Appeal, conspired with the aforementioned persons and one Suleiman “m” (now at large) and forged the letter head papers/sheets of Sharia Court of Appeal. They forged the signatures of the two signatories to the Stanbic IBTC bank account 0020667440 belonging to Kano State Sharia Court of Appeal and stole money to the tune of N484, 067,327, 07 kobo, by fraudulently authorising the bank to transfer the said amount to various bank accounts without the knowledge and/or consent of the authorised body/persons.”

“The acts are breach of trust by a public servant and contrary to section 97, 79, 315 and 289 of Penal Code. That on August 29, 2021, an official complaint was received by the Commission from Kano State Ministry of Justice, that sometime ago in the year 2018 to 2021 Sani Ali Muhammad “m”, Sani Buba Aliyu “m”, Bashir Baffa “m”, Garzali Wada “m”, Hadi Tijjani Mu’azu “m”, Alkasim Abdullahi “m”, Yusuf Abdullahi “m”, Mustapha Bala Ibrahim “m”, Jafar Ahmad “m”, Adamu Balarabe “m”, Aminu Abdulkadir “m”, Abdullahi Suleiman Zango “m”, Garba Yusuf “m”, Bashir Ali Kurawa “m” and you Hussaina Imam “f” criminally conspired, breached the trust in you as a public servant, acted jointly and created 15 fake civil servants’ death benefit files and fraudulently siphoned funds to the tune of N96,250,000.00 that was remitted by the Kano State Pension Fund Trustee to the bank accounts of Kano State Sharia Court Appeal. Stole the said amount through eight Sharia Courts under the Kano State Sharia Court Appeal without the consent and knowledge of the authorising authority,” Kofar Mata said.

Although, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, their lawyers: Garzali Datti Ahmad, Sani Yakubu Ibrahim, Mubarak Mai Wada, Bashir Ahmad and Mustapha Hussein, applied for bail of the accused persons.

The lawyers in their separate submission argued that the application was brought pursuant to section 35 and 36 of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and sections 168 and 172 of Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2019 of Kano.

In a counter argument, the prosecuting lawyer, Kofar Mata, cautioned the court to consider the huge amount involved in the alleged crime in granting the bail.

He urged the defendants to deposit some amount of money and or, valuable property before granting the prayers.

The trial Magistrate Mustapha Datti, adjourned the case to February 1, 2023 for further hearing and ordered remand of the defendants in a correctional centre.

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