Tonia Ashikodi convicted on two counts of failing to declare homes owned when applying for council housing
As the SKWAWKBOX reported a week ago, a London court heard testimony from the chief executive of Greenwich council that council officers and the council leader had ‘sought to protect’ councillor Tonia Ashikodi from the SKWAWKBOX’s 2018 enquiries about her housing affairs and the council’s investigation.
Just two months after the council denied there was an investigation into the councillor, she was charged with fraud for failing to declare two houses and a flat she owned when she applied for council housing in 2008 and and accepted a council home in 2012.
And now, Ms Ashikodi has been convicted on two counts of fraud relating to those housing applications – though she was acquitted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice while she was under investigation. She had claimed she was ‘holding the properties in trust’ for her father, but the court heard that she had been named as the landlord of one of the properties on the same day she accepted the council house.
The council has issued a statement claiming that the council ‘welcomed’ the verdict. However, council leader Danny Thorpe – who the council denied to the SKWAWKBOX was involved or even aware of the Ashikodi situation in 2018 but was revealed during the trial to have held at least one meeting with her about it – was reported to have cried when he told other councillors about the charges against her.
The court also heard of Tonia Ashikodi’s distress when she heard about the SKWAWKBOX’s enquiry.
Thorpe had refused to comment when contacted by the SKWAWKBOX, leading to the denial of his involvement by the council’s press team. In June 2018, local sources alleged that the council had kept the scandal quiet because Ashikodi was a supporter of the council leader and he had a majority of just one. Six weeks later, Ashikodi was charged.
Cllr Ashikodi could face imprisonment when she returns to the court for sentencing on 4 March.
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