Baroness' Former Housekeeper Found Guilty of Fraud
Jury decides Loloahi Tapui lied to Attorney General about legal status
Baroness Scotland's former housekeeper Loloahi Tapui has been found guilty of fraud.
It took the jury of eight men and four women less than 90 minutes to decide that Tapui deceived the Attorney General about her legal status in order to obtain the job as a cleaner in the Baroness' Chiswick home.
Tapui insisted Baroness Scotland never saw the passport or asked about her legal status but admitted she did see her CV, pay slips and her marriage certificate when she applied for the job in Chiswick in January 2009.
“The truth of the matter is that there are lies being told here," the jury was told by the prosecution during the trial. “Ultimately you are going to have to make up you minds whether Mrs Mawhinney [Baroness Scotland's married name] lied to you. Is Miss Tapui lying to you?”
Loloahi Tapui admitted to using a passport with a fake visa stamp but that the passport itself was genuine. She also claimed that she hadn't intended to use the passport to establish facts about herself or to earn money as a cleaner.
She told the court, “She [Lady Scotland] did not make the right checks. If she asked me if I was legal I would say no but she didn't."
Tapui will be sentenced on 7th May for fraud, possessing a false identity document, and for overstaying her student visa, offences which the judge warned were "very serious". The Tongan born 27 year old worked at the Chiswick home of the Attorney General for eight months until September 2009 when it was discovered that she had overstayed her visa. She was subsequently arrested along with her husband, Alexander Zivancevic, and their flat searched by immigration officers.
Baroness Scotland was fined £5,000 for employing Tapui. Despite calls for her resignation, the Attorney General hung onto her job after Gordon Brown said she had only committed a “technical” breach of the legislation she had helped to push through Parliament.
April 10, 2010