Luboya Tshibangu, 38, from Ashcroft Place in Adamsdown has been jailed for three and half years today for fraud against Cardiff Council.
In a two day trial, Mr Tshibangu’s case claimed that he was riding his bike on December 16th2012 on Bute East Dock and he hit a pothole which knocked him off his bike, causing him to fall and injure his ankle.
Mr Tshibangu made a personal injury claim of £15,912 for loss of earnings and a further claim of £119,861 for future loss of earnings.
During the two day trial, Heath Edwards prosecuting didn’t dispute that Mr Tshibangu had fallen off his bike, but that he ‘manufactured a claim on where the accident happened to lay blame on the council for personal gain’.
Two witnesses were called by the prosecution, Mr Nuno Silva and Miss Sarah Lewis who both explained to the jury that they were at the scene of the accident and Mr Silva witnessed the incident taking place. They both described the ground as ‘damp’ and that the accident was caused by the front wheel of the bicycle slipping, causing the fall, and not a pothole and that the incident happened outside their flat in Galleon Way apartments.
Mr Silva made a 999 call at the time of the incident, as the impact of the fall was ‘very hard’ and Mr Tshibangu was ‘in agony’ and Mr Silva ‘was concerned with his welfare’.
Ambulance GPS data was also given to the jury, which showed where the ambulance stopped, in relation to the incident that occurred.
The recording of the 999 call was played to the jury, and was a crucial part of the prosecution’s case, as Mr Silva clearly explained to the operator that the incident happened outside his flat in Galleon Way.
Acting for the defence David Maunder put it to the jury that due to the statements that were given to the police by Mr Silva and Miss Lewis taking place on July 19th2017; and the fact that the incident took place five years earlier, their recollection of events may not be reliable and that ‘in fact it wasn’t Mr Silva or Miss Lewis that witnessed the incident taking place.’
It was also put to the jury that the 999 call that was made, gave information on where Mr Silva and Miss Lewis lived at their flat and not actually where the incident actually occurred.
This version of events was rejected by the jury of five men and seven women and they returned a guilty verdict.
Prior to sentencing the court heard that Mr Tshibangu had previous convictions for dishonesty in 2006 for using a false document to get onto an aircraft, as well as benefit fraud.
In sentencing Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clark described the crime as serious fraud, and that Mr Tshibangu ‘tried to use the justice system to defraud the tax payer.’
Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clark, said:
“This is a case of high culpability fraudulent activity over a sustained period of time, which involved significant planning and sophistication.”
Detective Constable Justin Hawes of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) said: “Tshibangu used a genuine injury in an attempt to lay blame with the council. This blatant attempt at deception was spotted and the work of IFED with the council and its legal team has enabled us to put a stop to Tshibangu’s crime.
“Legitimate injuries should never be seen as an excuse to misplace blame or inflate circumstances in a bid to make money. False insurance claims increase the costs for all insurance holders. The result here shows that IFED takes these crimes very seriously and will put a stop to them.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Cllr Chris Weaver, Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance at Cardiff Council said:
“This is a case where someone has sadly had an accident and hurt themselves and tried to lay blame on the council illegally. Fraud is a serious offence and I hope this case sends a clear message that these matters are investigated and if false claims are made, we will work with the relevant authorities to bring these matter to court.”
Luboya Tshibangu was sentenced to three years and six months in prison. Half of the sentence will be served in custody and half of the sentence will be served on licence.