The “driving force” behind the successful Bradford-based food firm Mumtaz has been given a suspended prison after he was found guilty of fraud by misrepresentation over a £100,000 Government grant.
Dr Gul-Nawaz Khan Akbar had applied for the business grant, initially through the Yorkshire Forward organisation, as part of the funding package to build the firm’s new £5 million factory in Legrams Lane, Bradord.
But delays in the project meant the firm was unable to spend the required £1.1 million in capital in order to meet the deadline for the grant in December 2011.
Akbar then tried to preserve the company’s position by submitting what he claimed were “dummy invoices” for the purported capital expenditure, but a jury at Bradford Crown Court decided today that he was guilty of fraud by misrepresentation.
The court heard that the £100,000 grant was never actually paid out by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and as well as receiving a nine month prison sentence, suspended for a year, Akbar was also ordered to pay a costs bill of £34,500 in six months.
Passing sentence on Akbar Recorder Anthony Hawks described the case as unfortunate and highly unusual.
“You’re a person who through your own diligence, and your family’s diligence, has contributed a huge amount to this city,” said the judge.
Recorder Hawks said the company had embarked on a major investment in 2009 and a separate Government grant of £450,000 had proceeded entirely properly.
But he said the jury had concluded that Akbar had resorted to fraud to preserve the opportunity to obtain the second grant of £100,000.
“I regard this as a highly unusual case because the fact of the matter is that you didn’t get the money,” said Recorder Hawks.
“You did build the factory and we’ve all seen the structure that now exists and will no doubt carry your successful business forward.”
Recorder Hawks said it was “a great shame” that a man with Akbar’s background and business experience should now be convicted of an offence of fraud.