A chief magistrate’s court in Kano has ordered the remand of 15 persons in a prison for allegedly diverting N500 million meant for the orphans.
According to Daily Trust, those remanded include judges, registrars, and a cashier with the Kano State Sharia Court of Appeal, Hussaina Imam.
The accused are standing trial for offences bordering on criminal conspiracy, joint act, and criminal breach of trust by public servants, theft and forgery.
The offence is contrary to Sections 97, 79, 315 and 289 of Penal Code Law.
According to the first information report, FIR, the defendants, Bashir Ali Kurawa, Sa’adatu Umar, Tijjani Abdullahi, Maryam Jibrin Garba, Shamsu Sani, and Hussaina Imam, sometimes in 2020/2021 committed the offence in which Mrs Imam reportedly used her official position as the court cashier to conspire with her co-accused persons.
The cashier allegedly forged the letterheads and 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.
Mrs Imam was accused of fraudulently authorizing the bank to transfer the said amount to various bank accounts without the knowledge and or consent of the authorized body or person.
In a separate charge, the accused 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 the Penal Code.
“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, 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 Suleiman Zango, Garba Yusuf, Bashir Ali Kurawa and you Hussaina Imam, 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 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 authorizing authority,” the FIR reads.
However, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the counsel representing them applied for the court to admit the defendants on bail.
The defendants, through their counsels, 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 counsel, the prosecution counsel, Zaharaddeen Kofarmata, urged the court to consider the huge amount involved in the case while granting the bail.
The trial magistrate, Mr Datti, therefor adjourned the case to February 1, 2023 for hearing and ordered the remand of all the defendants in a correctional center.
Speaking to journalists after the proceeding, the acting chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, Mahmoud Balarabe, said the commission, during its investigations on the matter, had recovered vehicles, jewelry, landed properties, and other valuable property, including N8 million, from the defendants and would be used as exhibits.