Council worker from Denmead is jailed for £91,000 fraud

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A FORMER council worker has been jailed for defrauding more than £91,000 from taxpayers.

Pepe Chisenga, 54, of Little Corner, Denmead, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by abuse of position.

She appeared at Chichester Crown Court where she was handed a 30-month prison sentence.

The court heard Chisenga, pictured, 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.

She defrauded the council out of £91,800 of public funds, the court heard.

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 was dismissed by the judge and she was found not guilty.

Detective Constable Paul Gilmour, from Sussex police, said: ‘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.’