Original publication: Court News UK, 14th July 2016

A woman pocketed thousands of pounds by illegally sub-letting her council property to an unsuspecting couple, a court heard.

Fatima Garba, 45, charged Savile Butonet and Oleksander Borets £800 a month to live in the two bedroom flat, in George Ellison House on the Old Kent Road, Bermondsey.

The couple’s rent was more than twice the £396 a month Garba was paying Southwark Council to live at the address.

She had previously been charging the couple rent at a studio at 60 West Point, Old Kent Road, at £500 a month. In total Garba made £15,394 in profit between April 2009 and March 2014, the Old Bailey heard.

The couple also paid for the broadband, gas, electricity and even the TV licence.

Garba was granted the property by the council in 2012, after claiming the studio flat she was living in had become too cramped since the birth of her child.

But she was caught out when housing officials turned up at the property a year later to find the couple there and no sign of Garba, jurors heard.

Daniel Stevenson, prosecuting, said through Garba’s deception she was ‘depriving people of much needed social housing in London’ for her own personal gain.

The defendant claims that she was still living at the council property, and that an £800 payment made to her to her by the couple was just a favour.

Garba, of Flat 17, 47 Provost Street, Shoreditch, denies four counts of fraud and making false representation on a housing application.

The trial continues.


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