Published: Wednesday, 4th March 2020
Cllr Tonia Ashikodi has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and must undertake 250 hours of unpaid work, following her conviction for two counts of fraud by misrepresentation.
She applied for council housing in 2008 and signed a tenancy for a council home in 2012, despite being the owner of three properties. Under the Local Government Act, any councillor sentenced to more than three months in prison (whether or not suspended) must be disqualified as a councillor. Cllr Ashikodi has 28 days in which to appeal the conviction and/or sentence - if she does not appeal, she will be disqualified on 2 April 2020.
Cllr Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said:
“I’m glad that this case has finally been concluded, and would like to thank the council officers who had to speak in court as witnesses in the case. As an elected councillor, Tonia knows that there are 20,000 households on our housing waiting list and over 1,000 families in temporary accommodation. The judge said that, due to her dishonesty, a family has been denied a place in a secure council home for more than seven years.
Tonia will be disqualified as a councillor 29 days from now if she does not appeal the sentence. This means we would have to hold a by-election after the London Mayoral election, at a significant additional cost. At the sentencing her own defence barrister said that it is clear that her time in office as a councillor must come to an end. I am therefore once again calling on Tonia to stand down as a councillor immediately so the residents of her ward can elect someone to represent them as soon as possible. As the judge noted when handing down a suspended sentence - Tonia is a young woman and mother of three children. I hope she accepts the verdict, carries out the community service and moves on from this for the sake of her and her family.”