Court clears former Ujima boss of fraud
The former chief executive of Ujima Housing Association and his business associates have been cleared of fraud charges.
Kenneth Kerr, who is also known as Keith, was found not guilty by Judge Michael Grieve at Southwark Crown Court on Friday last week along with Alan Boswell and Gregory Causer.
Reporting restrictions had been placed on the case until today when it was decided not to proceed with a further trial of Mr Boswell and Mr Causer for conspiracy to defraud and theft of £35,000. The prosecution entered no evidence.
At this morning’s proceedings, which dealt solely with Mr Boswell and Mr Causer, Judge Grieve said their ‘excellent character [had not been] unduly tainted by these proceedings’.
The defendants had been accused of theft of £350,000 from Ujima Maintenance Services and making false representations to London & Quadrant, the housing association that took over Ujima on 16 January 2008 after it ran into financial problems.
Mr Kerr was the chief executive of Ujima and Mr Boswell and Mr Causer the managing director and company secretary, respectively, of maintenance firm FWA West.
The housing association and maintenance firm set up the joint venture Ujima Maintenance Services to maintain the association’s 4,000 to 5,000 homes in April 2007. The prosecution alleged £350,000 was taken out of UMS with ‘no basis whatsoever’.
On the possible further trial of Mr Boswell and Mr Causer this morning prosecutor Daniel Fugallo said: ‘The position of the crown is the public interest would not be served by pursuing the trial on that account [conspiracy to defraud and theft of £35,000].’
Judge Grieve said this morning: ‘The view [of the prosecution in not proceeding with the second trial] is in accordance with my own. It’s been a very full trial of the issues and a clear verdict and I entirely approve.’
The trial started in March and was expected to last two months.