Former asylum seeker denies all charges

Was accused of housing benefit and council tax

28th January 2011: A former asylum seeker, living in a £1.2million house, charged of getting thousands of pounds in housing benefit and council tax, denied all allegations leveled on her.

 Her solicitor successfully appealed for her full address not to be given in court. The hearing was adjourned and she was granted bail.

The 37-year-old, mother of seven, Toorpakai Saiedi from Afghanistan, was accused of not declaring an income of around £16,000 a year and was alleged to have received around £30,000 in benefits.

She was charged with four offences of dishonestly obtaining council tax benefit, income support and housing benefit between 2006 and 2009. Saiedi said she understood the charges and denied them all.

The prosecution was brought by Ealing Council in West London and related to allegations. The allegations were that she claimed the benefits, while secretly having a bank account with Barclays into which she received cash credits and built up savings.

Saiedi had claimed asylum after coming to Britain in 2001 with her children, a year after her husband Haji Rahmat Shah Saiedi, 47, had arrived in London.

The family said they were well-off farmers near Bagram airbase, 20 miles from the Afghan capital Kabul, but were forced to flee because of Taliban threats.

Their home in Acton, west London, has seven bedrooms, two large reception rooms, one featuring a large plasma TV, two kitchens, a dining room, a breakfast room, three shower rooms and a 100ft garden. The monthly rent of £12,458 is paid by the council to landlord Ajit Panesar.

When the huge scale of her benefits was first revealed in 2008, the family allowed a newspaper to look around the property.Since arriving in Britain, the family have lived in several properties, all paid for by local authorities.


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