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Disgraced IFA swindler paying back £1k-a-month ahead of sentencing

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Muhammad Naeem talks to our reporter

Muhammad Naeem talks to our reporter

Sumbul Jahangir

Sumbul Jahangir

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Muhammad Naeem talks to our reporter

The disgraced accountant who stole almost £300,000 from the Irish Football Association (IFA) is paying back £1,000 per month, a court has heard.

Muhammad Naeem has already handed over £150,000 of his wife’s money after she agreed to help him repay the footballing body.

But Belfast Crown Court was told last week that Naeem’s spouse, Sumbul Jahinger, is now living with friends in England ahead of her husband’s sentencing this week.

The 41-year-old was due to learn his fate, which is a certain prison sentence, on Friday but Belfast Recorder Stephen Fowler QC agreed to adjourn the hearing until later this week to allow him to visit his wife in a bid to patch up their relationship.

Travel blogger Jahinger (38) had been charged alongside her husband after his fraud was discovered but later had charges of converting criminal property dropped.

During the short hearing on Friday his barrister told the court Naeem has also sold his car at auction, fetching £11,374 that will also be used to repay the stolen money.

He said the offending had put a “massive strain” on their relationship and both her and her family in Pakistan had found it “very difficult” to deal with.

The barrister said that Naeem had used some of the proceeds of the frauds to “keep up with the Joneses” as his wife comes from “very different financial circumstances”.

He added that Naeem also helped to pay for his father’s medical bills and to support his mother who lives in Lahore and is entirely dependent upon him.

The lawyer also read from an email Naeem sent to his solicitors in which he said he hopes to win the forgiveness of all of those who he hurt with his offending.

Judge Fowler listed the case for sentence this Friday with his barrister confirming Naeem is well aware he will be jailed.

Naeem, of Drumhirk Avenue in Newtownards, stole a total of £287,932.92 from the IFA where he was employed as an accountant between January 2018 and August 2019.

Previous hearings in the case were told Naeem’s siphoning of funds came to light in August 2019 after the IFA’s financial director uncovered suspected fraudulent activity while reviewing expenditure records.

He discovered duplicate payments made from the IFA to a number of bank accounts not linked to the body’s contacts.

Police were informed, an investigation was launched and the IFA’s computer and accountancy software was analysed.

This analysis revealed that Naeem was the only member of staff logged on to the system at the time the duplicate payments were being made.

He was arrested in August 2019 and made extensive admissions during interviews.


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