Church minister fined for €19k benefits claim

A church minister has been fined €750 for fraudulently claiming almost €20,000 in benefits.

Dublin District Court heard Idowu Akanbi, 48, The Close, Orlynn Park, Lusk, Dublin made a “false declaration claiming the one parent family payment” and he “concealed he had got remarried”. Judge John O’Neill heard the man received €19,132 in payments but has given back €3,818. There have also been deductions of €28 a week from his jobseeker’s allowance.

He has pleaded guilty to charges are under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act.

The court has heard he is a minister at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Swords, Co. Dublin. Prosecution solicitor Joseph Maguire told Judge O’Neill that Akanbi “knowingly concealed the fact he had remarried” in November 2012.

A few months later, on February 1, 2013, he filled out forms and signed a declaration to get the payment which he received for more than a year.

Yesterday Akanbi told the court he is trying to make repayments of €100 a week.

Judge O’Neill said the amount claimed was a substantial sum and he imposed the fine which he stated must be paid within six months otherwise Akanbi will be jailed for seven days in default. The prosecution was brought by the Department of Social Protection. The offences, at district court level, can result in a fine of up to €2,500 as well as a possible six-month jail sentence.

The social welfare office can continue to recoup money owed after a court prosecution has been finalised.


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