Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford free school staff in court over fraud charges

The founder and former principal of a flagship free school in Bradford and two former staff members have appeared in court charged with fraud offences.

Sajid Hussain Raza, Shabana Hussain and Daud Khan are accused of abusing their positions at Kings Science Academy between November 2010 and August 2011.

At Leeds Magistrates' Court, all three indicated not guilty pleas to charges relating to the school's finances.

They are due to appear at Leeds Crown Court on 24 April.

The trio are alleged to have made a series of unauthorised and unlawful payments into the personal bank accounts of founder and ex-principal Mr Raza and Ms Hussain, a former head of department, from a grant provided to the school by the Department for Education.

Mr Raza, 42, of Spring Gardens Road, Bradford, was arrested last year following an investigation into the school, which was visited by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012.

Mr Raza is charged with three offences of fraud by abuse of position, three offences of false accounting, two offences of obtaining a money transfer by deception, and one offence of fraud by false representation.

Ms Hussain, 38, of Wilmer Road, Bradford, is charged with one offence of fraud by abuse of position and offences of acquiring criminal property.

Mr Khan, 43, of Thornhill Place, Thornbury, a former director of finance at the school, is charged with two offences of fraud by abuse of position and three offences of false accounting.

The two men are also accused of falsifying a series of documents between April 2011 and December 2011, including invoices for rent, invoices for heads of department and invoices for recruitment services, which were submitted to the Department for Education for payment.

The former principal is also accused of mortgage fraud.

One of England's first free schools, the academy opened in September 2011. It was set up by Mr Raza and praised by Mr Cameron on his visit in March 2012. It has since become part of the Dixons academy group.

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