Lawyers to drag Abuja Grand Khadi to court over alleged salary fraud

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Ibrahim Rufa'i Imam
Ibrahim Rufa'i Imam

Lawyers from Grey’s and Acquisition Chambers, Abuja have written a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Grand Khadi of the Federal Capital Territory Ibrahim Rufa’i Imam over failure of the Court to pay workers salaries since April 2020. The letter is copied to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malam SAN.

In the letter addressed to the Grand Khadi, Shariah Court of Appeal, Ibrahim Rufa’i Imam dated and received on June 22nd 2020, Barrister Uche Amulu Esq said the FOI request was pursuant to sections 1, 3 and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

The lawyers are seeking among other things:

  1. Details as to why about 500 staff members of the Shariah Court of Appeal have not been paid salaries since April 2020 till date.

2. Documents that empowered the closure of salaried accounts of the staff members domiciled in First City Monument Bank Plc and moved to Zenith Bank Plc during this period of non payment of salaries.

3. Whether the Order of Court emanating from a Magistrate Court sitting in Minna Niger State, lacking jurisdiction, was relied upon or steps taken to challenge same in a Competent Court in the FCT.

They gave seven (7) days within which to respond as provided by the FOI Act 2011.

The fraud  and how it happened.

The Sharia Court of Appeal has over 1000 staff out of which about 500 have not received their salaries since April this year.

The crisis started when some junior staff were over paid in March with some receiving millions as their salaries while some senior and junior staff were under paid.

“Instead of the Sharia Court to resolve the problems, the leadership of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) went to Niger State and procured an order from a Chief Magistrate Court to freeze the accounts of the affected staff,” a staff who does not want to be named for fear of victimization said.

“Obviously there is a connivance between the union and the management otherwise how can a union that is supposed to protect the interest of its members act in cohort with the management to deny us our salaries?

“Again, a Magistrate Court does not have jurisdiction over issues affecting  FCT Shariah Court of Appeal and its staff, not even a Magistrate Court in Niger state. Yet, they used the kangaroo order to freeze our accounts and then turned around to close the official account of the Shariah Court of Appeal domiciled at FCMB and quickly opened a new account in Zenith Bank just to cover their tracks.

“When the new account was opened in Zenith Bank, the Chairman of the JUSUN, FCT Sharia court of Appeal chapter, Barrister Laminu Mustapha went back to Niger State and procured  another order from the same Magistrate Court to unfreeze the affected accounts of the staff by which time there was nothing they could do because the damage has been done”.

The Chief Registrar, Aminu Sa’ad, who is like the head of service  has kept quite too. The head of the court, Grand Khadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Abuja, Ibrahim Rufa’i Imam, has kept quite. Now, the affected staff can not approach the Bank (FCMB) to lodge complaints because their organization does not have an account with the it anymore.

The question we are asking is: Why is JUSUN interfering with the work of the finance department? The Director Finance, Garba Dodo, has kept quite too. Some staff lost the money they had in their Bank account apart from their salaries because FCMB took away their salaries and what was in their accounts shortly after the incidence. “Uptill now, no refund, no where to lodge a complaint. Definitely, the above named persons have case to answer,”  the anonymous staff said.

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