Principal and two staff from Bradford free school jailed over £150k fraud

THE FOUNDER of a flagship free school in Bradford has been jailed for five years for defrauding the Department for Education of thousands of pounds from government grants.

Then Prime Minister David Cameron meeting headteacher Sajid Hussain Raza at Kings Science Academy, Bradford

Sajid Hussain Raza, 43, was jailed at Leeds Crown Court with former academy staff members Daud Khan and Shabana Hussain, who were sentenced to 14 months and six months respectively.

The trio were convicted in August of making payments into their own bank accounts from grants given to help set up the Kings Science Academy in Bradford in 2011.

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The academy was praised by then prime minister David Cameron during a high-profile visit in March 2012. It has since become part of the Dixons Academies Trust and is now called Dixons Kings Academy.

The trial heard that Raza, the founder and principal of the school, used some of the money to make mortgage repayments on rental properties he owned to alleviate his own financial problems.

But he told the jury the suggestion he used public money to cover his debts was “unbelievable”.

The fraudulent activity continued for three years, between November 2010 and December 2013, despite senior civil servants expressing concern about his leadership and financial management.

Raza was found guilty of four counts of fraud, three counts of false accounting and two counts of obtaining money by deception.

Hussain, a teacher at the school and Raza’s sister, was convicted of one count of fraud and one count of obtaining property by deception.

Khan, the financial director at the school, was found guilty of two counts of fraud and three counts of false accounting.

Kings Science Academy was among the first wave of free schools set up as part of a flagship education policy introduced by the government following the 2010 general election.

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