Three accused of Grenfell Tower fire fraud remanded in custody

Three men appeared separately in court charged with fraudulently claiming a total of more than £117,000 in funds meant for Grenfell Tower survivors.

Abolaji Onafuye, 54, Koffi Kouakou, 54, and 28-year-old Abdelkarim Rekaya are accused of claimed housing money or allowances from funds set up to help the survivors of the devastating blaze last June in which 72 people died.

Kouakou, originally from the Ivory Coast, Nigerian-born Onafuye, and Rekaya, from Tunisia, were arrested by fraud investigators as part of a series of dawn raids which also saw a further five men and a woman taken into custody.

Onafuye was charged with two counts of fraud by false representation, Kouakou was charged with fraud by false representation and Rekaya was charged with fraud by false representation and obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception.

All three appeared separately at Isleworth Crown Court today (Fri).

A fourth man, Yonatan Eyob, 25, from Eritrea, who wasarrested in the same raids on January 7, is charged with dealing class A drugs from the Hilton Hotel in Holland Park, west London.

Onafuye, of West Kensington, pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation between June 2017 and January 2018.

Judge Nicholas Wood denied Onafuye bail and he was remanded in custody.

He will face a trial in the week beginning October 29 at Isleworth Crown Court.

Kouakou, of Pimlico, central London, was already on bail and his legal team will make an application to dismiss the charges on October 5.

If that application fails he could face a trial the week beginning November 19, but has not formally entered a plea.

Rekaya, who listened to the proceedings through an interpreter, was remanded in custody ahead of his plea hearing at the same court on July 13.

Eyob, of Chelsea, west London, is due to appear again on August 24th.


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