Sharia court judges arrested, remanded for stealing N580.2 million

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On Thursday, a Kano Chief Magistrates’ Court ordered that two Shari’a court judges, a cashier and 16 other financial registrars be remanded in prison custody over alleged N580.2 million theft.

The police charged Bashir Kurawa, Saadatu Umar, Tijjani Abdullahi, Maryam Jibrin-Garba, Shamsu Sani and Hussaina Imam with five counts of criminal conspiracy, joint act, criminal breach of trust by a public servant, theft and forgery.

Others are Sani Ali Muhammad, Sani Buba-Aliyu, Bashir Baffa, Garzali Wada, Hadi Tijjani Mu’azu, Alkasim Abdullahi, Yusuf Abdullahi, Mustapha Bala Ibrahim, Jafar Ahmad, Adamu Balarabe, Aminu Abdulkadir, Abdullahi Zango and Garba Yusuf.

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Chief magistrate Mustapha Sa’ad-Datti ordered the remand of the defendants and adjourned the matter until February 1 for a hearing.

Prosecution counsel Zahraddeen Kofar-Mata told the court that the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission received an official complaint from the State Ministry of Justice on August 20, 2021.

Mr Kofar-Mata alleged that between 2020 and 021, Mr Imam used her position as a cashier at the Kano Shari’a Court of Appeal, conspired with four others and another individual, Suleiman, now at large, to forge letterheads of the court.

“The defendants forged the signatures of the two signatories to the Stanbic IBTC bank account 0020667440 belonging to the Kano State Sharia Court of Appeal and stole N484 million,” stated the prosecutor.

Mr Kofar-Mata alleged that the defendants fraudulently authorised the bank to transfer the amount to various bank accounts without the consent of the authorised persons. He also alleged that from 2018 to 2021, the defendants criminally conspired, breached the trust as a public servant, acted jointly and created 15 fake civil servants’ death benefit files and fraudulently siphoned the sum of N96.2 million.

“The N96.2 million was remitted by the Kano State Pension Fund Trustee to the bank accounts of Kano State Sharia Court Appeal. The defendants stole the said amount through eight Sharia courts under the Kano State Sharia Court Appeal without the consent of the authorising authority,” added the prosecutor.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The defence counsel, Garzali Datti, prayed the court to exercise its jurisdiction judiciously and admit the defendants on bail.

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