A UK based Nigerian accountant, Samuel Kayode, 60, allegedly stole more than £4million from a top chain of educational institutions to pay for two wives, a choice range of properties, luxury cars and designer clothes.
Kayode spent seven years paying himself a fortune from the accounts of the acclaimed Haberdashers’ Aske’s state schools in what has been described as Britain’s ‘biggest ever educational fraud’, a court heard.
According to the prosecution, he spent it at a rate of up to £98,000 a month, some on private healthcare for his dying first wife Grace in England – while pumping more away to a secret second wife in Nigeria.
The jury was told that Kayode arrived late to work each day in Gucci and Versace despite his salary not being more than £57,000 a year. He was responsible for managing the funds for Haberdashers’ schools in South London including Hatcham College and Knights Academy, along with four primaries. The prosecution also claimed that Kayode would work late locked in his office, refusing to share details of the schools’ finances with his bosses.
Upon his arrest he had a new Mercedes, a new £40,000 Infiniti luxury car, an Audi TT sports car, at least four properties in Britain and more in Nigeria. He had also made plans to move permanently to Nigeria with his younger second wife.
Prosecutor James Thacker told the jury: ‘Samuel Kayode used his position to defraud over £4million. It was spent on luxury motor vehicles, property, and sent to Nigeria. His dishonesty and sheer greed is scandalous. It is believed to be Britain’s biggest education fraud.’
He made no comment to ‘each and every’ police question, and is now on trial at Woolwich Crown Court in South London accused of obtaining £150,000 by theft and £3.95million by fraud.
Kayode was able to move huge sums of school money through the BACS financial system, allegedly arranging it so he alone could authorise payments rather than the usual system requiring two signatures.
Analysis of Kayode’s work computer and other material revealed his lavish spending and how money had been transferred directly from the school into his private joint account with his wife in London, Grace, who died aged 53 in 2013. Stolen money funded private healthcare for her, it was claimed. It was alleged that more money was ‘laundered’ by being moved on to a Nigerian business called Samak – after his own name, Sam A Kayode. His trial is still ongoing.
However, Kayode, a father of four from East London who was also a lay preacher in his church, denies all the charges.