Friday, June 09, 2006

An immigrant from Uganda stole £1m from a British City Council

Sarah Probert:

A suspected illegal immigrant who secured a job as a finance manager at Birmingham City Council has admitted stealing more than £1 million of public funds destined for care homes.

John Kaduwanema (27), of Stag Road, Cannock, Staffordshire, yesterday pleaded guilty to ten charges of dishonestly obtaining money by transfers from the city council between May 2005 and February 2006. He appeared at Birmingham Crown Court via a video link.

Kaduwanema was employed as a finance manager for the council's cash-strapped social care and health finance department for two years but claims that he was an illegal immigrant prompted an investigation by the local authority.

It is alleged the Ugandan national arrived in the country on a student visa, which ran out some time ago.

He now has identifiable assets of almost £1 million, including several properties and a Jaguar, the court heard.

The city council said it was in the process of recovering the cash and also investigating how Kaduwanema was able to get a job despite his illegal status.

His £25,000 post gave him direct access to millions of pounds of public cash.

Defence counsel Robert Cowley, who told the court the thefts were Kaduwanema's first crime, also asked for a further 14 offences to be taken into consideration.

He said realisable assets worth £989,255.70 had been identified to compensate for the money taken.

The case came to light when Barclays Bank contacted the city council and raised questions about a transaction of council cash. The local authority investigated the query and ordered an investigation of finances in the social services department. The inquiry uncovered money was missing and officers contacted West Midlands Police.

Kaduwanema was arrested and remanded in custody at Winson Green Prison.

Yesterday he was remanded in custody for reports. He is due to be sentenced next month.

Council worker admits £1m theft


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