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Court Remands Judges, Cashiers Over Alleged N500M Fraud

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A cashier with the Kano State Sharia Court Division, Hussaina Imam, and 14 others including judges and registrars were on Wednesday evening arraigned and remanded in a correctional centre for allegedly committing offences bordering on criminal conspiracy, joint act, criminal breach of trust by public servants, theft and forgery.

The offences run contrary to Sections 97, 79, 315 and 289 of the Penal Code Law.

When the case came up on Wednesday before Chief Magistrate Mustapha Sa’ad Datti, the prosecution counsel, Zaharaddeen Mata, prayed the court to grant him leave for the content of the First Information Report be read to the defendants, pursuant to Section 129 (7) of Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2019 of Kano State.

According to the FIR, “On 20th August, 2021 an official complaint was received at the Kano State Public Complain and Anti-Corruption Commission from Kano State ministry of justice, that sometimes ago in the year 2020/2021 you Bashir Ali Kurawa “M”, Saadatu Umar “f”, Tijjani Abdullahi “m”, Maryam Jibrin Garba “f”, Shamsu Sani “m” and you Hussaina Iman “f” you committed an offence of criminal conspiracy in which you Hussaina Imam used your official position as cashier in the Kano State Sharia Court of Appeal and conspired with the aforementioned persons and one Suleiman “m” (now at large) and forged the letterhead papers/sheets of Sharia Court of Appeal, 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 four hundred and eighty four million, sixty seven thousand, three hundred and twenty seven naira and seven Kobo (N484,067,327:07) 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.”

Similarly, in another separate charge, the defendants were arraigned for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, joint act, criminal breach of trust by a public servant and theft by a clerk or servant contrary to Sections 97, 79, 315 and 289 of Penal Code.

“That on 29th August, 2021, an official complaint was received by the Commission from Kano State Ministry of Justice, that sometime ago in the year 2018 to 2021 you 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 create 15 fake civil servants’ death benefit files and fraudulently siphoned funds to the tune of ninety six million, two hundred and fifty thousand naira (N96,250,000.00) that was remitted by the Kano State Pension Fund Trustee to the bank accounts of Kano State Sharia Court Appeal and stole the said amount through eight Sharia Courts under the Kano State Sharia Court Appeal without the consent and knowledge of the authorising authority.”

The First Information Report Reads.

All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Meanwhile, counsel representing them applied for the court to admit the defendants on bail.

In their separate submissions, Garzali Datti Ahmad, Sani Yakubu Ibrahim, Mubarak Mai Wada, Bashir Ahmad and Mustapha Hussein urged the court to exercise its jurisdiction judicially and judiciously.

They argued that the application was brought pursuant to Sections 35 and 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (1999 as amended) and Sections 168 and 172 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2019 of Kano.

In his response to the bail applications by the defense counsels, Mata urged the court to consider the huge amount involved in the case while granting the bail.

“Considering the huge amount involved in the alleged crime, we urge the court pursuant to section 175 of ACJL 2019 to order the defendants to deposit some amount of money or valued property as security.

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

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