Former Newham registrar jailed for helping gang illegally claim £4m in benefits
PUBLISHED: 15:49 01 February 2013 | UPDATED: 15:49 01 February 2013
A councillor said he felt “betrayed” by a crooked registrar jailed for five years on Tuesday for helping an African gang milk the benefits system by creating fake birth certificates.
Azu Akpom started to work for Newham Council in 2004 but he was sacked in 2011 after it emerged he made up five false identities for children so the ringleader, Ugandan-born Ruth Nabuguzi, could bring people into the country as dependents and claim money off the state illegally.
He was found guilty of one charge of misconduct in public office at Croydon Crown Court and jailed for five years.
The sentence was run concurrently with five counts of supplying articles for use in fraud for which he was jailed for four years.
Cllr Unmesh Desai, Newham Council’s executive member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “Akpom systematically abused his position and in-depth knowledge of the system.
“We employed him in good faith and he abused that trust. He betrayed us and many other people.”
Akpom, a Nigerian-born father of three, was trapped by an incriminating text message to Nabuguzi after the General Registry Office contacted Newham’s Registry Office in 2011 concerned about his registration of twins Catherine and Godfrey Lubeta and another child Louise Kayaya - none of whom had actually been born.
Nabuguzi, 49, of Church Road, Manor Park, also used several false identities to claim payments for herself to build a complex of luxury apartments, shops, restaurants, and a hotel in her home city of Kampala.
She was jailed for 19 years in 2012 for fraudulently claiming over £4million in benefits.