A Woolwich Crown Court has sentenced Sam Kayode, a Nigerian part time pastor in England, to nine years in prison over his alleged role in what has been described as Britain’s biggest ever education scam.
Kayode was accused of spending seven years looting the accounts of Haberdashers’ Aske’s state schools in south London, now an academy chain acclaimed by the government.
According to Mail Online, the suspect, who was the school’s account manager, spent £4.1million on four women, who were identified as his wives and mistresses.
He started working at Haberdashers’ – which has links with the public schools of the same name – in 1997.Advertisement
Thacker said in 2006, Kayode started using the BACS money transfer system to put tens of thousands at a time directly into a joint account held with wife Grace. He then spent up to £98,000 a month.
As well as spending money on his real wife Grace’s private health care – until her death aged 53, in 2013 – he also signed documents showing he was making investments with Halima, and renting flats in Kent for ‘partners’ Toyin Lawal and Yetunde Turtak.
Kayode said he had lied about marrying Halima, and denied affairs with the other women.Advertisement
At her house in Northfleet, Kent, Lawal, 50, said when she was short of cash, Kayode paid one month’s rent for her in his role as pastor at a church in Nigeria.
He was also said to have bought luxury cars such as Mercedes, Audis, and an Infiniti, and suspected of sending a huge amount of money to Nigeria.
The father of four, who was paid £57,000 a year, was found guilty of obtaining £150,000 by theft and £3.95million by fraud.
“A dishonest, greedy and possibly bigamous school accountant has been jailed for nine years for stealing £4.1million of taxpayers’ money – and lavishing it on four women,” the newspaper said in its report.Advertisement
“Despite overwhelming evidence, he tried to blame the theft on his late wife Grace and an office junior. He claimed they conspired to smear him by transferring the money to his joint account in revenge for his adultery.
“During those years no questions were asked about the secretive man who locked himself in his office to work late, after arriving in a Mercedes, wearing £500 Gucci shoes and carrying a Louis Vuitton briefcase.
“His boss, chief financial officer Paul Durgan, failed to notice a penny missing. He was often lecturing other schools about how to run their finances, while Kayode was transferring school money into his own bank account.”
A school cleaner, who reportedly stumbled across Kayode’s paperwork, was said to have raised an alarm.Advertisement
She made an anonymous call to the new chief finance officer, Yvonne Smithers, who was already suspicious about Kayode’s secrecy.
Prosecutor James Thacker said Kayode was too arrogant to admit his guilt even after he was caught red-handed in 2012.