Exclusive: Police pass Bradford free school ‘fraud’ file to prosecutors

Sajid Raza.
Sajid Raza.
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POLICE investigating alleged fraud at a Bradford free school have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.

The Kings Science Academy has been at the centre of controversy since it emerged that a Department for Education (DfE) investigation alleged that fabricated invoices had been submitted by the school to claim public money.

West Yorkshire Police began an investigation in October last year and arrested the school’s founder and former principal Sajid Raza earlier this year.

A force spokesman said: “A 41-year-old arrested on suspicion of fraud offences remains on police bail.

“This is a complex enquiry. All aspects of the school finances and governance that relate to these potential offences and allegations have been thoroughly investigated and a file has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for consideration.”

A CPS spokeswoman confirmed that they had received the file but would not comment further.

The Yorkshire Post understands that the police investigation is still ongoing.

Mr Raza was originally arrested in January and released on bail. He answered his bail in June and was arrested and released on bail again over separate allegations. He was the founder of the free school which opened in Bradford in 2011.

He was suspended in January following his original arrest.

In August the school announced that he had been dismissed from his post following a disciplinary investigation.

However the school’s chairman of governors John Bowers said this decision was not linked to matters being investigated by the police. Now the school is set to join the Dixons academy chain.

There has also been separate questions asked about governance at the free school in its first year. The DfE have previously said they believed Alan Lewis, the vice chairman of the Conservative Party, was the school’s chairman of governors in its first year but were then told by the school in October 2012 that this was not the case. The DfE now says there was no chair of governors in place in the school’s first year.

Mr Lewis has consistently denied ever being the school’s chairman of governors. He has been said to be an executive patron at the free school. The Kings Science Academy has been built on his company’s land. The DfE is paying £295,000-a-year rent over a 20 year lease.