Barristers & Solicitors
Shari’ah court judges remanded for alleged theft, forgery
sharia court

Cashier with the Kano State Sharia Court Division, Hussaina Imam, alongside 14 others, including judges, registrars and financial registrars, were on Wednesday arraigned before the court and remanded in a custodial centre over allegations of theft, forgery, criminal conspiracy and breach of trust.

When the case came up before Chief Magistrate Mustapha Datti, the Principal State Counsel, Kano State Ministry of Justice, Zaharaddeen Mata, prayed the court to grant him leave to read the first information report to the defendants.

The report read, “On August 20, 2021, an official complaint was received at the commission from the Kano State Ministry of Justice that sometime in 2020/2021, you, Bashir Ali Kurawa, Saadatu Umar, Tijjani Abdullahi, Maryam Jibrin Garba, Shamsu Sani and Hussaina Iman, committed an offence of criminal conspiracy during which you, Hussaina Imam, used your official position as cashier in the Kano State Sharia Court of Appeal and conspired with the aforementioned persons, including one Suleiman (now at large) and forged the letterhead papers/sheets of the Sharia Court of Appeal, 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 money to the tune of N484,067,327, 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.

“An official complaint was received by the commission from the Kano State Ministry of Justice that sometime between 2018 and 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 Hussaina Imam, criminally conspired, breached the trust in you as public servants, acted jointly and created 15 fake civil servants’ death benefit files and fraudulently siphoned funds to the tune of N96,250,000 that was remitted by the Kano State Pension Fund Trustee to the bank accounts of the Kano State Sharia Court of 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.”

When the charges were read to them, the defendants pleaded not guilty.

Meanwhile, counsel for the defendants, Garzali Ahmad, Sani Ibrahim, Mubarak Wada, Bashir Ahmad and Mustapha Hussein, urged the court to grant them bail.

The defence counsel, Zaharaddeen Mata, however, asked the court to consider the huge amount involved in the case.

He said, “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 magistrate, Mustapha Datti, adjourned the case till February 1, 2023, for hearing and ordered the remand of the defendants in a custodial centre.

Briefing journalists shortly after the proceedings, the Acting Chairman, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, Mahmoud Balarabe, said the agency, during its investigations into the case, recovered vehicles, jewellery, landed property and other valuables, including the sum of N8m, from the defendants, which would be used as exhibits.