Former customer services manager involved in £93,000 fraud
Former employee defrauded housing association
A customer services manager at one of the UK’s biggest housing associations defrauded his employer out of £93,000 over two years.
Gaffar Kenku, a 38-year-old former employee of 61,500-home Circle, will be sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court tomorrow (22 June) after being found guilty of fraud last month.
Four other people were also found guilty of offences relating to the fraud and one other person pleaded guilty to a related offence (see box: The verdict). They will be sentenced alongside Mr Kenku.
The fraud related to payments from Circle subsidiary Circle 33 Housing Trust intended to cover the costs of tenants moving out of their homes while they were being refurbished and the cost of temporary accommodation living costs.
Police investigated 26 fraudulent payment forms which were submitted between 2007 and 2009.
Tenants’ names on the forms were faked but the properties were genuine. Managers’ signatures were forged so the payments were approved by Circle’s finance department.
Police were alerted to Mr Kenku’s possible involvement in the fraud when a woman attended Eltham Police Station in south east London on 30 October 2009 and complained that Mr Kenku was pestering her for £1,000 she allegedly owed him. The woman said Mr Kenku had asked her to put money into her account.
She told police that Mr Kenku, who worked as customer services manager at Circle’s head office in Islington, north London, had told her that it was a bonus from Circle 33 and he did not want his wife to know about it.
A spokesperson for Circle 33 said the association has now carried out a review and made ‘significant changes’ to its payment procedures to prevent fraud happening again.
She said: ‘We are pleased with the verdict and will be pursuing the individuals involved to recover the money.
‘We will not tolerate this type of activity and have also revised our anti-fraud and whistle-blowing policies to ensure that this message is clearly understood.’
Gaffar Kenku, 38: guilty of fraud
Anna Kisakye, 26: guilty of converting criminal property
Joweria Nabatanzi, 39: guilty of converting criminal property
Lamula Nakalawa, 32: guilty of transferring criminal property
Hussina Raja, 25: guilty of retaining wrongful credits
Milly Mugalu, 32: pleaded guilty to dishonestly