Former council worker jailed for £91,000 fraud

Pepe Chisenga. Picture supplied by Sussex Police
Pepe Chisenga. Picture supplied by Sussex Police
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A former West Sussex County Council staff member has been jailed for defrauding the council of more than £91,000, according to police.

Pepe Chisenga, 54, of Little Corner, Waterlooville, Hampshire, pleaded guilty on September 7 to a charge of fraud by abuse of position.

She appeared at Chichester Crown Court on Friday, November 13, where Chisenga was handed a 30-month prison sentence.

15 months of the sentence will be spent in prison, and the other 15 months will be on prison release licence supervision in the community.

The court heard that Chisenga was a senior contracts officer in the drug and alcohol action team at West Sussex County Council in October 2012 and held a significant position of trust, Sussex Police said in a statement.

But she went on to engineer service level agreements with various fake social enterprise companies which she was director of, to defraud the council out of £91,800 of public funds.

When the fraud was discovered by a council audit, Chisenga was suspended from her post on July 4, 2013, and was arrested by police on August 12.

The case against her colleague Chloe Donovan, 41, of Baldock Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, who had also been charged with fraud by abuse of position and conspiracy to transfer or remove criminal property, was dismissed by the judge and she was found not guilty.

Detective Constable Paul Gilmour said after the sentencing: “This was a complex fraud investigation which revealed that Chisenga had set up ‘shell’ companies.

“On the face of it they appeared to be legitimate companies but in fact offered no service to the council, employed no real people and were based at mail drop addresses.

“This evidence was key in showing that the money was put into numerous bank accounts and spent on personal expenditure.”

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