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2 Jun 2017

Nurse struck off for social housing fraud

A nurse who bribed a corrupt Southwark Council housing officer to get a council flat in Peckham has been thrown out of the profession, after a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing. (h/t tenancyfraud)

Theresa Okondunjokanma was jailed for eighteen months last September for council housing fraud, after submitting a series of bogus documents, including birth certificates for other people’s children.

The NMC panel heard on May 26 that her dodgy documents were accepted with a £2,000 bribe by Southwark Council officer Trudy Ali-Balogun, in May 2004.

Ali-Balogun, 55, was jailed for five years in May 2016, after she pushed through 24 fraudulent applications for council homes between 2003 and 2005. Ali-Balogun made at least £20,000 in backhanders, predominantly helping the Nigerian community in London obtain the public housing.

Okondunjokanma’s fraudulent application cost the taxpayer an estimated £100,000 and she was charged on three counts of fraud. Having illegally gained the Peckham council house, she profited by subletting it to her sister in 2009.

Okondunjokanma was not present at last week’s panel hearing, and submitted evidence via written statements to the NMC.

NMC panel chair Kenneth Caley said: “The panel noted that Ms Okondunjokanma has [portrayed] herself as the victim in her emails and statements to the NMC." In her letter dated April 24, 2017, Okondunjokanma stated that she gone through “the trauma of crown court, imprisonment and compensation of £20,000 paid to Southwark Council for a case [which] I’m only a victim of circumstance.”

The panel noted an apology made by Okondunjokanma, but Mr Caley said: “The panel was of the view that she has not taken responsibility for her role in her crime. The seriousness of the dishonesty has led the panel to conclude that Ms Okondunjokanma’s behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with being a registered professional. The panel is of the view that the public would expect Ms Okondunjokanma to be removed from the NMC’s register as a result of her actions.

“A striking-off order is the only sanction that would satisfy the public interest in order to maintain public confidence in the profession and the NMC as its regulatory body.”

Okondunjokanma’s criminal trial (in September 2016) ended Southwark Council’s crackdown on council housing fraud known as Operation Bronze, which opened in 2011 and achieved 38 convictions, resulting in 42 properties being reallocated to genuine applicants.

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