Sunday, 29 May 2016

Guilty verdict in Ujima money laundering trial

A woman has been found guilty of laundering £42,000 stolen from Ujima Housing Association.

Rosalinda Avwunu, 55 of Purley in Surrey, was found guilty of money laundering and transfer of criminal property by a jury at Isleworth Crown Court today.

The trial concerned £42,000 stolen from Ujima Housing Association which was paid in to Mrs Avwunu’s bank account in 2007.

The prosecution alleged that Mrs Avwunu knew or suspected that money transferred into the account was the proceeds of alleged crime by her husband. She denied any knowledge of or involvement in the fraud.

Her Hon Judge Molyneaux told the court: ‘That money was stolen from a housing corporation [Ujima Housing Association] by which her husband Mr George Avwunu was then employed. The money left her account in fairly short order from when it was paid in and then used on various expenses.’

Mr Avwunu was the finance director of Ujima. He absconded from bail in 2009 and has not been seen since.

The judge told Mrs Avwunu that she may go to prison for the offence.

She is on bail until she is sentenced on 12 August.

The judge told the court Mrs Avwunu is the mother of three boys aged 19 to 13 and had cared for them alone since her husband disappeared.

She said: ‘The signs are her boys are doing very well and she is an excellent parent to them.’

The judge said Mrs Avwunu’s viewed her role in her marriage was to ‘pretty much to do as she was told to do by her husband’.

During the trial Mrs Avwunu said she knew nothing about her husband’s business affairs.

This week’s trial was a retrial as a jury failed to reach a verdict on Mrs Avwunu at a previous hearing in February.

At that hearing Dr Paul Campayne, 47 of Coulsdon in Surrey, was found guilty of seven counts of money laundering and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

Dr Campayne received £208,000 from George Avwunu and transferred a total of £160,000 of the money into bank accounts belonging to Mrs Avwunu, and into an investment firm owned by Mr Avwunu. At his trial Dr Campayne denied knowing or suspecting the money was the proceeds of crime.

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