A councillor in London who applied for council housing in 2008 and signed a tenancy for a council home in 2012, despite being the owner of three properties, has been found guilty on two counts of fraud by misrepresentation.
A jury at Inner London Crown Court unanimously found Cllr Tonia Ashikodi, a Labour councillor at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, guilty on both counts today (12 February 2020).
Cllr Ashikodi and her father, Tony Ashikodi, had beenacquitted of perverting the course of justice on Monday (10 February).
Cllr Ashikodi is due to be sentenced on 4 March.
Debbie Warren, Chief Executive at Greenwich, said the local authority welcomed the jury’s verdict.
She said: “The conversations we had with Cllr Ashikodi and her father, along with the evidence we were presented with at the time, led us to believe that there was a case to answer. Our decision to prosecute was taken in good faith following legal advice and I would like to thank the council staff who took to the witness stand to present our case - the unanimous decision shows that their evidence was accepted by the jury as a truthful reflection of events.
"We also should not forget why we had to prosecute. There are 20,000 residents on our housing waiting list and more than 1,000 households in temporary accommodation. Cllr Ashikodi would have known this as a councillor elected to represent the interests of our residents. The jury has found that she lied in her application for council housing and also when she signed her tenancy agreement. As well as breaking the law, she denied someone with a genuine need for a secure home."
Warren added: "I would like to reiterate that our anti-fraud team operates autonomously from the rest of the council. Officers receive information and investigate without any political involvement and this case was handled in exactly the same way as any other case - we will continue to prosecute where there is evidence of fraud against the council.”