Wells racial equality boss Onamade in ID fraud claim
The former Chief Executive Officer of the Somerset Racial Equality Council has been accused of operating under false identity for nearly two decades.
The man, from Haybridge near Wells rubbed shoulders with leading politicians in Downing Street and held talks with senior police officials has appeared in court charged with fraud after allegedly masquerading under a fake identity.
The 51-year-old man, who appeared in court under the name of David Onamade, has allegedly been using the identity of a severely autistic man with the same name who resides with his mother in London.
For the last nine years he was employed by Somerset County Council as the chief executive officer of the Somerset Racial Equality Council until funding for the project was withdrawn earlier this year.
During the course of his employment he became a leading spokesman on racial equality matters in the county.
He mixed with many high profile figures, was invited to attend a reception at Downing Street and also sat on various committees alongside the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police.
He also claimed he was a qualified barrister with a law degree but had never officially been registered as such
Somerset Magistrates were told that the alleged scam only came to light after the man went to make a claim for benefits and questions were raised over his true identity.
When he was brought before the court at Yeovil in custody Onamade, of Haybridge Villas, Wells, pleaded not guilty to an allegation that on February 4 at Wells he committed fraud in that he dishonestly made a false representation to obtain Job Seekers Allowance to make a gain of money for himself.
Prosecutor Emma Chetland said that Onamade had been charged under the 2006 Fraud Act and the total amount of benefits fraudulently claimed were in the region of £2,000.
She said: “His immigration status is unknown and we don’t know who he is, but he has been living under this identity since the 1990s.”
Defending solicitor Jeffrey Bannister said that his client denied the allegation against him saying he was who he said he was and was determined to clear his name.
Magistrates adjourned the case on Monday until this morning when the defendant will appear before a video link court.
In the meantime he was remanded in custody after an application for bail by the defence was rejected.