An accountant stole more than £4million from a leading chain of academies to pay for two wives, a property portfolio, luxury cars and designer clothes, a court heard.
Samuel Kayode allegedly spent seven years paying himself a fortune from the accounts of the acclaimed Haberdashers’ Aske’s state schools in Britain’s ‘biggest ever educational fraud’.
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 spiriting more away to a secret second wife in Nigeria, the prosecution claimed.
Kayode, 60, would arrive late each day – wearing Gucci and Versace – for his £57,000-a-year accounts manager job. He was responsible for managing the funds for Haberdashers’ schools in South London including Hatcham College and Knights Academy, along with four primaries.
He would work late locked in his office, refusing to share details of the schools’ finances with his bosses, the jury was told.
Kayode was caught when an anonymous whistleblower phoned a new chief financial officer at the schools in 2012, it is alleged.
When he was arrested 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 Africa with his younger second wife.
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. Nigeria-born Kayode, a father of four from East London who was also a lay preacher in his church, denies the charges.
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.’
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.
The trial continues.