Ugandan family jained for £4million benefits scam in U.K.

By IndepthAfrica
In Uganda
Nov 1st, 2012
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Jailed: Ruth Nabuguzi was the ringleader of a 'family firm' that carried out a £4million benefits scamJailed: Ruth Nabuguzi was the ringleader of a ‘family firm’ that carried out a £4million benefits scam

A Ugandan woman who headed a ‘family firm’ which created identities for up to 100 fictitious children to carry out a £4million 19-year benefits scam was jailed for six years today.

Ringleader Ruth Nabuguzi, 49, fooled immigration officials and obtained leave to remain in the UK under a number of different identities.

She then either sold these identities to other people or used them to claim benefits.

Jailing the mother-of-two, Judge Nicholas Ainley, said: ‘This is a fraud on a huge scale, not only that but it is an outrageous abuse of the hospitality that was offered to you by this country when you came here in trouble.’

Nabuguzi, from Manor Park, east London, even managed to claim more than £2million worth of HIV and AIDS drugs which it is believed were sent back to Uganda and sold for huge profits.

It is not known if she even has the disease but she maintains that she is innocent of selling the drugs.

Members of the the nine strong team – who were jailed for a total of 19 years today – tricked immigration officials and secured leave to remain in the UK under a string of identities – either using these to claim benefits or giving them to others so they could illegally stay in the country.

The scale of the fraud Nabuguzi orchestrated is so wide, with so many identities used, that it is feared the true extent – and her true identity – may never be known.

Alongside what is believed to be her real name she used the main identities Tessie Busulwa, Jane Namusisi and Pauline Zalwango.

She even brought her children – Dennis Kyeyune, 29, Jordan Sebutemba, 26 – into the country in 2008 and plundered their identities until they were old enough to join the ‘family firm’.

Jailing her for six years Judge Ainley told her: ‘Very shortly thereafter you involved them, at that stage entirely innocent, in your criminal pursuits which of course were motivated by this stage, perhaps always but certainly by this stage, by greed.’

Kyeyune was jailed for two and a half years whilst mother-of-two Sebutemba was spared prison by a 12 month sentence suspended for two years.

The judge at Croydon Crown Court said he recognised that they were brought up in ‘surroundings stooped in crime’.

Nabaguzi is believed to have regularly travelled back to Uganda and bought at least three properties in and around the capital Kampala, one of them picturedNabaguzi is believed to have regularly travelled back to Uganda and bought at least three properties in and around the capital Kampala, one of them pictured

The luxury flats in Kampala, Uganda, that were built using the proceeds of the scam

The luxury flats in Kampala, Uganda, that were built using the proceeds of the scam

Another luxury house in Uganda that was paid for using money that was illegally obtained in BritainAnother luxury house in Uganda that was paid for using money that was illegally obtained in Britain

He added: ‘You became a part of your family firm, and by family firm I mean with Ruth Nabuguzi as the head, and that family firm’s business was in immigration and benefit fraud.’

The total loss is £4,027,748 – this comprises 2,280,000 for the medication, a further £154,000 of taxpayers money went on education for the ‘family’, with £37,500 for a single higher education course alone.

Under Nabuguzi’s four main identities she claimed around £450,000 in benefits including income support, disability living allowance, £152,000 in housing benefit, and council tax benefit, and tax credits.

Ruth Nabuguzi was jailed today for the benefits scam
Ruth Nabuguzi was jailed today

Nabuguzi, 49, from Manor Park, east London and her family, fooled immigration officials and obtained leave to remain in the UK under a number of different identities

Fraud relating sub-letting of flats made the gang £653,480 and in total the ‘family’ received £902,768 in benefits.

Albert Kaidi, 27, Sebutemba’s ex, was jailed for 30 months.

Lamulah Sekiziyuvu, 36, a former partner of both Keyuyne and Kaidi, was jailed for three years.

Dennis Kyeyune, the ringleader's son
Albert Kaidi one of the nine members of the family

Dennis Kyeyune, left, believed to be the ringleader’s son and Albert Kaidi one of the nine members of the family

Yvette Syapjeu (also known as Mathy Matumba)
Lamulah Sekiziyuvu

Yvette Syapjeu (also known as Mathy Matumba), left, and Lamulah Sekiziyuvu, pictured right

Lina Katongola, 29, was jailed for one year Lina Katongola, 29, was jailed for one year

Lina Katongola, 29, was jailed for one year and Mathy Matumba, 50, was jailed for four years for a further £340,000 benefit fraud.

Eddie Semanda, 31, was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years.

The members of the gang carried out fake immigration and benefit claims using fictitious identities, allowed their identities as to be used, and acted as trusted members of the conspiracy to help Nabuguzi carry out the complex and widespread fraud.

Betty Tibakawa, 24, the ninth member of the gang, will be sentenced on November 12.

The judge commended UK BA investigators Tina Lyonette, Tracey harper, Jonathan Bradbourne and Hamid Sheikh for disrupting ‘a very large criminal enterprise’ with ‘very considerable professionalism’.

Beginning in 1993 Nabuguzi claimed asylum under the name Namusisi and then began to create her web of deception.

As soon as she gained leave to remain in one identity, alongside her ‘children’ she began claiming benefits and created a new identity to start the process again using ‘exactly the same criminal modus operandi’.

Some of the identities she ‘offered them to third parties to facilitate entry for those third parties’, Prosecutor Paul Raudnitz

The court heard that she even used her supposed HIV to get her kids into the UK in 1998.

The judge noted: ‘Although there were irregularities because of their birth dates didn’t match they were let in on compassion ground because she was suffering with HIV/AIDS and the prognosis was not thought to be good.’

Church Road, Manor Park in east London where the ringleader lived as she scammed benefit moneyChurch Road, Manor Park in east London where the ringleader lived as she scammed benefit money

Mr Raudnitz said of Nabuguzi, who came to the UK in 1991, ‘this defendant was at the heart of the conspiracy through and through, the others revolved around her.’

She is believed to have regularly travelled back to Uganda and bought at least three properties in and around the capital Kampala.

Plans for building new properties were found when police raided the gang’s homes across east London.Daily Mail

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