Former Mosque Trustee faces theft charges

A former Trustee of East Auckland Islamic Trust is facing charges of theft following a complaint lodged with the Police by other trustees.

Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand (FIANZ) President Dr Anwar Ghani said that the Trust had filed a complaint against Mohammed Rafi Sahib who was a Trustee of the Pakuranga Mosque.

“Mr Sahib was entrusted with the Trust Account which had donations received from the public for maintenance and other expenses related to the Mosque. He was a dedicated and trusted worker but Trust members became concerned last year, when they discovered that he had set up two credit card accounts in his personal name,” Dr Ghani said.

It is understood that the accused is facing four charges, two each relating to theft and altering documents for personal benefit.

Dr Ghani said the amount involved was more than $200,000.

He said that the Trustees spoke to Mr Sahib after they discovered these irregularities and removed him from the post of Trustee but gave him a chance to repay the money.

He said that FIANZ officials, including Vice-President Javed Khan mediated to recover the monies. Mr Sahib paid off the money he had borrowed from the Bank and cleared the title of the Trust Property of all encumbrances.

However, he owes a substantial sum to the Trust, Dr Ghani said.

He repaid only a part of the money and hence failed to meet his obligations. They therefore complained to the Police,” he said.

“This is the first time ever in the history of New Zealand Muslims that someone trusted has misused the position entrusted to him in such a manner. We are a very transparent community when it comes to dealing with money matters, with accounts presented at monthly meetings.

“Since this incident, we have informed our community for the need to be vigilant on financial matters and have the accounts audited annually by a qualified accountant,” Dr Ghani said.

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