Nigerian pastor Sam Kayode, above, has begun a nine-year jail sentence for stealing millions from the UK education system.
In what is believed to be the biggest fraud case of its kind, the free-spending pastor nicked more than £4-million from a chain of academies, the Haberdashers’ Aske’s state schools in south-east London.
Woolwich Crown Court was told that, on a salary of just £57,000 as an accounts manager for the schools, Kayode spent lavishly on luxury cars, property, designer clothes and women. He wore £500 Gucci shoes and carried a Louis Vuitton briefcase.
Kayode, 60, who has four children and is from Ilford, East London, was “dishonest”, “greedy” and possibly even a bigamist.
When the thefts were discovered, he tried to blame his late Wife Grace and a junior member of his office staff.
Kayode, who also worked as a pastor for London’s Christ Apostolic Church, was even asked to lecture other schools about their finances. His fraud was exposed when a school cleaner found some paperwork and alerted the new head of finance who was already suspicious about Kayode.
He was found guilty of obtaining £150,000 by theft and £3.95million by fraud. Haberdasher’s Aske’s has recovered just £800,000.
When he was Education Secretary, Michael Gove often praised the three academies, run by the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation.
During the course of his trial it was reported here that Kayode spent cash 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.
Kayode, 60, would arrive late each day – wearing Gucci and Versace – for his £57,000-a-year job. He would work late locked in his office, refusing to share details of the schools’ finances with his bosses, the jury was told.
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.
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.