A corrupt council officer who gave tenancies worth £2.4 million to fraudsters claiming to be homeless has been jailed for five years.
Trudy Ali-Balogun, 55, took bribes of £2,000 to wave through bogus applications, which included fake birth certificates passports and wage slips and spent the money on foreign holidays, Inner London crown court heard.
Ali-Balogun altered records to show applicants were “homeless”, when some owned homes they were renting out and others were in the UK illegally.
She approved at least 20 bogus applications for housing between 2003 and 2005, costing Southwark council £2.4 million in housing for homeless people.
Judge Mark Bishop jailed Ali-Balogun, from Stratford, for five years after she was found guilty last month of misconduct in public office.
Biayo Awotiwon, 47, and Adeyemi Olalekan Oyedele, 48, were jailed for five months each.
Kudiartu Falana, 60, was jailed for five months, suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
Joseph Akin Oliaya, 53, was jailed for six months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
Awotiwon, Oyedele and Falana were found guilty of obtaining services by deception.
Olaiya was found guilty of attempting to obtain service by deception.
All denied the charges.
Judge Bishop told Ali-Balogun, “At least 20 properties were occupied by tenants not entitled to occupy them and they occupied them for many years.”
Awotiwon received £226,000 of housing for 12 years at a property in Tooley Street in Southwark, and is refusing to leave.
Oyedele, 48, a former assistant to the Nigerian High Commissioner, is refusing to leave his Bermondsey flat.
Falana, 60, obtained a four-bedroom property in central London in 2004. She bought it in 2007 at a £60,000 discount under the Right to Buy scheme. Oliaya invented children and used a fake passport to get housing.
Kevin Metzger, for Ali-Balogun said, “What was going on at Southwark didn’t start with Ms Ali-Balogun, it had been going on before.”
Ibrahim Bundu, another Southwark housing worker, is serving six years in jail after failing to pay back £100,000 in bogus application bribes.
Council Fiona Colley, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance said, “Today’s sentencing concludes a lengthy investigation into fraud and deception at the hands of someone who abused their position of trust for their own selfish gains.
“I’m glad that the penalty reflects the severity of the crimes committed and I hope this send out a clear message about just how seriously we take housing fraud.
Southwark’s waiting list is filled with hundreds of people in genuine need of a home. We will continue to cater to these people whilst also bringing those who take advantage of the system to justice.”
UK Evening Standard

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