A man who claimed to have been displaced by the Grenfell Fire tragedy has been convicted of fraud and will spend the next 5 years behind bars after racking up over £45,000 worth of hotel and food bills.
Moses Ettiene (below) said that he had been ‘sofa surfing’ in the Grenfell Tower when the fire broke out in the early hours of June 14th, 2017.
So-called ‘sofa surfing’ is the practice of staying temporarily with various friends and relatives while attempting to find permanent accommodation.
Ettiene said he had been out on the night of the Grenfell fire, but he attended the Westway Community Centre, where survivors of the fire had gathered, seeking after help.
He claimed to authorities that he had been a resident who had been subletting a flat inside Grenfell Tower.
When asked which flat number he had been staying at, the number he gave did not exist and when asked further about this, he then refused to say which flat he had been staying in.
Ettienne claimed that this was due to his ‘top secret’ work with foreign governments on renewable energy and that the flat may still contain these ‘top secret’ Government files.
He even tried to claim that as a result of his government work he was afforded diplomatic immunity as a result of him being attached to the US Mission in Geneva.
The reality was he held no diplomatic status in the UK and that whilst he had created two renewable energy companies with Companies House, both were closed after a year due to lack of trading.
Evidence showed that he was
The royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea council footed the bill and paid for Ettiene to spend 325 nights at the four-star Park Plaza Hotel which also included food and beverages.
A total of £47,415.75 was paid out by the council for Ettiene’s costs.
The investigation into Ettiene included an analysis of phone activity which showed Ettiene was not sleeping at Grenfell Tower for the five nights prior to the fire.
CCTV footage also did not show him entering or leaving the building.
Andrew Levin, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for the Complex Casework Unit, said:
“This is yet another shocking case of taking advantage of a community tragedy for personal gain.
“Although Ettiene did provide documents that proved he lived at the Grenfell Tower, these dated back to 2014 and there was absolutely no evidence showing he had lived in the building after 2015.
“The prosecution case did not dispute the historic links Ettiene had to the tower, but was able to prove that he was lying and was not a resident at the time of the fire.”
Ettiene was apprehended by police at Gatwick airport having arrived back in the country after a holiday in Grenada.
72 people trageically lost their lives in the fire with another 70 people injured.
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