THE founder of a free school in Bradford jailed for fraud in 2016 has been told to pay back nearly £23,000 or spend another year in prison.

Sajid Hussain Raza, 45, was sentenced to five years for defrauding the Department for Education (DfE) of thousands of pounds in government grants when establishing Kings Science Academy in Lidget Green.

Two other defendants and former academy staff members - Raza’s sister Shabana Hussain, 41, and Daud Khan, 45 - were also jailed for six months and 14 months respectively.

The trio were convicted in August 2016 of making payments into their own bank accounts from grants given to help set up the school in Bradford in 2011.

The fraudulent activity, which totalled £69,000, continued for three years, between November 2010 and December 2013.

At a Proceeds of Crime hearing conducted at Leeds Crown Court earlier this week, Judge Christopher Batty ordered Raza to repay a total of £22,929 or face the prospect of an additional 12 months in prison. Hussain was ordered to pay back £12,800.

During their trial at the same court, a jury was told that Raza and Hussain, who was a teacher at the school, made a series of payments into their own personal bank accounts from the government grants.

Khan, the financial director, did not receive any payments but the court heard the fraud could not have taken place without his participation. Raza and Khan also submitted inflated or fabricated invoices for rent, fees for heads of department, and recruitment services.

Raza, then of Spring Gardens Road, Heaton, Bradford, was found guilty of four counts of fraud, three counts of false accounting, and two counts of obtaining money by deception, relating to lying about his income on mortgage application forms.

Hussain, of Wilmer Road, Heaton, Bradford, was found guilty of one count of fraud and one count of obtaining property by deception.

Khan, of Thornhill Place, Thornbury, Bradford, was convicted of two counts of fraud and three counts of false accounting.

Free schools were part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto in 2010 and in 2012 the school, which is now part of the Dixons Academy chain, was praised by Prime Minister David Cameron during a high-profile visit.

When the trio were sentenced in 2016, the DfE said that all “inappropriately used” monies had already been recovered.

At the time, a spokesman said: “All academies operate under a strict system of oversight and accountability – more robust than in Council-run schools – ensuring any serious issues including financial mismanagement are identified quickly and dealt with efficiently.

“In this case, the Education Funding Agency acted as soon as allegations were made and, thanks to that swift action, all inappropriately used departmental funds were recovered.”

A DfE spokesperson yesterday said: “The DfE has recovered from the Academy all of the funds which it identified as having been inappropriately used. We would expect that any funds recovered here would go to the Academy chain.”