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NewsTakeaway boss prosecuted for fraudulently claiming £20,000 Covid support grants

Takeaway boss prosecuted for fraudulently claiming £20,000 Covid support grants

A takeaway business and its owner have each been fined after attempting to claim more than £20,000 in government grants that they were not entitled to.

Ajibola Jerimiah Adenuga (35) of The Gardens, Eccles, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 200 hours unpaid work with five Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR) days attached.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,400 and a £114 victim surcharge. The court also suspended his personal licence to sell alcohol for two months.

This sentence was for three charges under the Fraud Act 2006 as director of Ministry of Booze Group Limited.

The company, registered at an address on Chester Road in Manchester as Ministry of Booze (trading name Suya Republick) was also fined £1,000, along with £1,400 in costs under the Fraud Act 2006 for three offences. The court also ordered the company to pay a £400 victims surcharge.

In total, Adenuga – through his business – benefited from £17,669.21 in fraudulent Covid support grant claims – and attempted to claim a further £2,667.

Adenuga pleaded guilty to the total of six offences at a Magistrates Court hearing in November 2023, before being sentenced at a separate hearing on May 31.

The case was initially referred to Internal Audit in February 2022, as a result of the subject applying for an Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) of £2,667. This grant was declined and referred for investigation as it was found that the applicant was running a takeaway, rather than a restaurant as claimed in his application. Takeaways were not eligible under this scheme as they were not required to close.

Following investigation, it was found that the applicant had also received a Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) totaling £9,669.21 claiming to be a sexual entertainment and hostess bar when operating as a takeaway.

Mr Adenuga also received a Restart Grant (RG) of £8,000, claiming to be an outdoor bar supplying alcoholic beverages when actually operating as a takeaway.

Takeaways were not eligible under these schemes as they were not required to close.

Mr Adenuga was interviewed twice by council officers following investigation in June and July 2022. He admitted that he had made false applications to support his business.

He confirmed he had supplied false applications and documentation but was not able to claim any other funding to support his business.

Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester City Council’s executive member for finance, said: “Covid grants were made available to support businesses who were at threat of failing because of the impact of the pandemic and grants were paid out in good faith that they were supporting our residents to weather the lockdowns.

“Defrauding this system for personal gain flies in the face of the spirit of support that the grant fund intended. I hope this case shows other people who have committed similar crimes that when we find you, we will investigate, and we will take the case through the court to seek justice.”

Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
I'm a journalist with more than 18 years' experience on local, regional and national newspapers, as well as PR and digital marketing. Crime and the courts is my specialist area but I'm also keen to hear your stories concerning Manchester and the greater North West region.
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