Man cleared after alleged theft of social welfare payments

Boniface Nshekoh, 44, originally from Cameroon, with an address at Lansdowne Valley Park, Drimnagh, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to charges under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act. He was acquitted after giving evidence at Dublin District Court that he just wants experience while helping out his brother-in-law who lived in Cameroon.

The 44-year-old man has been cleared of unlawfully obtaining €29,000 in social welfare payments as he makes “something of himself” and helped run a car exports firm.

He allegedly runs the business alone from February 2012 to October 2013 which involved in exporting used cars and car parts to Cameroon. It was also the prosecution’s case that he made six false declarations to the social welfare authorities.

In line with this, the trial heard that during this period he had bought 31 used cars and exported six cargo containers. However, since 2009 Department of Transport records revealed that he bought over 117 used cars and customs officials were aware he had shipped 13 cargo containers.

In evidence, Mr. Nshekoh said he bought car parts and previously owned cars which he exported in containers to his brother-in-law in Cameroon. The business continuously operates out of premises with a rent worth €300 a month. Defence solicitor Joseph Coonan said his client got tips of €50 per car which in total over seven years amounted to €5,850. He was also given the privilege to have the Jobseekers Allowance, as he was not working and should not be punished for “trying to make something of himself,” Mr. Coonan argued.

Furthermore, Judge John Brennan said it was a big enough business but noted Mr. Nshekoh’s parents were looked after by his brother-in-law in Cameroon, who they believed had also co-operated with the investigation. The case was dismissed and the judge said Mr. Nshekoh had appeared honest and so the evidence was accepted, Irish Times reported.

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