Ilford charity founder in plea over her benefit fraud

�A charity founder who has admitted benefit fraud is pleading: “Don’t let this dark patch ruin the work we do.”

Elizabeth Kayembe pleaded guilty to cheating the taxpayer of �55,000. Of that, �10,000 was in �Jobseekers’ Allowance, while another �45,000 was in housing and council tax benefits, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard on Friday.

But the 43-year-old Ilford mum, who will be sentenced next month, is calling on people to not let those actions tarnish the work her voluntary group Sizanani Africa does.

She founded the group in 2000 to help disadvantaged young people in Redbridge via training, help with literacy and maths and improving their employment prospects.

Speaking to the Recorder on Tuesday she said: “I have been shocked by the fact that all the work we have done is being cast in a different light because of this.

“We have providers who support our charity and we need them to know that this is a separate issue.

“Our organisation needs to survive because of the help it gives to disadvantaged young people from all communities.”

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“People can be easily influenced by what they read but we have been a part of the community for many years.”

She added: “We’re not a big charity. Everything we �receive we have to show how it is spent.”

In March, Mrs Kayembe appeared before councillors in Redbridge Town Hall �appealing unsuccessfully for �9,000 in funding for a training programme she wanted to run. She will appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court for sentencing on August 12.

Her husband Lubwika, who is the pastor of an Ilford church, said: “People don’t know the circumstances that have led to the court case. We’re not going to run away because we’re a part of this community.”

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