A FORMER mayor who helped to organise the first visit of the Queen to a mosque in Britain has gone on trial in Sheffield for multiple counts of fraud and theft.
Jawaid Ishaq, 72, faces 15 charges relating to a Yemeni national he befriended after they had both moved to the UK.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that he had been a Labour councillor in Scunthorpe for more than 30 years, had acted as the deputy chair for Humberside Police Authority and had been awarded an MBE.
Craig Hassall, prosecuting, said the case centred around allegations of fraud and several instances of dishonesty.
“The defendant was born in Kashmir and came to England about 45 years ago and settled in Scunthorpe,” he said.
“He became active in local politics and has been a Labour councillor since 1983.
“In 2008, he was the mayor of Scunthorpe.
“Clearly he was and still is a prominent and influential person in the community as well as the Muslim community in North Lincolnshire.
“This meant people trusted him and were less inclined to check what he was telling them if he had not held such positions of power.”
The court heard that he became friends with a man called Ali Salem Sultan, from Yemen, after they met in Mr Ishaq’s shop and they attended the same mosque together.
The jury were told many years later Mr Sultan, who has since died, decided he would move back to the Yemen and he had various affairs in Scunthorpe that needed looking after, which included two properties in the town.
Due to his imminent return home, on July 7 1997, he signed a document granting power of attorney over the two houses to Mr Ishaq, which clearly stated it applied to “no other assets whatsoever”.
But police would eventually seize a secondhand written power of attorney document from Mr Ishaq’s house, which included reference to various bank accounts and shares in addition to the houses.
This was dated eight days after the first one and also had a solicitor’s stamp on it.
But this stamp had a name the company only adopted eight years later.
Mr Hassall said: “It makes no sense that a second power was granted just days after the first one when he had been so careful to limit the powers to just the two houses.
“The second one is hand-written and there’s nothing in it that says a legally qualified person had anything to do with it.
“And the legal stamp must have been applied eight years later.”
The second document also had two signatures on it, despite a power of attorney only legally requiring one.