Wednesday 23 October 2019

Asylum seeker turned beautician given until 2026 to repay €10k dole fraud

Nadege Kibamba, 42yrs, with an address on North Circular Road, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts today after she appeared before the Dublin District Court. Pic: Collins Courts
Nadege Kibamba, 42yrs, with an address on North Circular Road, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts today after she appeared before the Dublin District Court. Pic: Collins Courts

Tom Tuite

A 42-year-old woman, who worked in Dublin using a different identity while she fraudulently claimed more than €10,000 in dole payments, has been given until 2026 to pay it back.

Nadege Kibamba, from the Democratic Republic of Congo but with an address at the North Circular Road, Dublin 7 admitted the benefit fraud.

Granting the seven-year adjournment at Dublin District Court today, Judge Anthony Halpin said she would get the Probation Act, sparing her a conviction and jail, when she has repaid it all.

He said this was because of “genuine tragic circumstances” of this case which will resume on March 27, 2026.

Nadege Kibamba, 42yrs, with an address on North Circular Road, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after she appeared before the Dublin District Court.Pic: Collins Courts
Nadege Kibamba, 42yrs, with an address on North Circular Road, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after she appeared before the Dublin District Court.Pic: Collins Courts

Prosecution solicitor Edel Haughton told the court the woman has paid back €2,250 but still owed €8,058.

She said the prosecution involved four counts of making a false declaration while claiming Jobseeker Allowance between November 2010 and January 2014. The fifth charge was for using a false PPS number to obtain employment.

One other charge was dropped and she had no prior criminal convictions.

The woman, who did not address the court, was paying back the debt at a rate of €100 a week.

Pleading for leniency, defence solicitor Siobhan Conlon said Kibamba came to Ireland for asylum in 1999 as a result of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo which left 5.4m people displaced.

She had to fend for herself.

It was not until 2013 that she was issued a “Stamp 4” which indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions.

The solicitor said Kibamba had a false PPS number and used it for employment and she had paid tax when she worked.

There was some overlapping with social welfare payments, the court was told. The dole money was used to support her daughter and to go back to Democratic Republic of Congo to renew her passport so she could get a visa to continue living in Ireland.

She has regularised her situation, trained as a beautician and was now actively looking for work.

Ms Conlon said the accused “suffered a lot of trauma” and was very apologetic.

The offence can result in a fine of up to €2,500 and or a six-month sentence in addition to being made pay back the amount of benefits wrongfully claimed. The court can only consider applying the Probation Act and spare a defendant a criminal record in these type of cases if all the money has been given repaid.

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