Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Thursday, February 14, 2013
A mother-of-two who committed fraud by privately sub-letting her council flat was handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Oyinade Agbaje, 43, pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining services and dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain for herself or another at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, February 1.
Investigations had shown Mrs Agbaje did not even live in the borough, and has owned a house in Dagenham for 13 years.
Speaking after the case, Havering’s housing boss Cllr Lesley Kelly said: “This was a calculated arrangement that enabled the defendant to defraud the taxpayer and make money out of a property that is meant to be affordable for those who need it.
“We have a large housing register in Havering that we are trying to reduce. We cannot allow people who do not live in the borough to sub-let our properties when there are people waiting for them.”
In a press release, Havering Council said Mrs Agbaje, of Clemence Road, Dagenham, was given a council house in Walden Avenue, Rainham, in 2005 after claiming her marriage had broken down and that she was a lone parent of two children. She was also given £350 in vouchers to redecorate.
In 2009, the council added, Mrs Agbaje and her daughters were moved to a property in Chantry Way owned by Old Ford Housing. Mrs Agbaje also received a “homeless and disturbance” payment of £5,677.53 for the move.
In 2011 staff at the housing association became suspicious the family was not living at the flat – because Mrs Agbaje and her children had not been seen around the estate.
An investigation found Mrs Agbaje’s daughters went to school in Westcliff and lived in Clemence Road, Dagenham. Financial checks revealed Mrs Agbaje had a mortgage and had owned the property since 1999.
Other people were found living at the Chantry Way address, and it was discovered Mrs Agbaje had been sub-letting the property to them.