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Posted on February 12th 2016 by admin-movingin

Head of college failed to declare tax on ten rental properties for five years

Original Author: Rosalind Renshaw

A college principal who failed to declare the money he made from renting out properties has been sentenced for evading income tax.

Between April 1997 and April 2012, and in addition to his day-job as college head, Macdonald Abamba rented out properties and did not declare any rental income.

After confessing to tax fraud, he was sentenced this week at Croydon Crown Court to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,500 in costs.

He was also ordered to repay £283,886 within three months or face three years behind bars.

Abamba, 57, principal of the School of Computing and Business Studies in London, owned ten properties in Lewisham, Bromley and Croydon, with rent over the five-year period equating to £216,260 in unpaid income tax.

Instead he used that to purchase more properties in the UK and Dubai, plus land in Ghana and Nigeria.

HMRC uncovered the fraud as part of a clampdown on property owners and landlords trying to avoid paying tax.

Initially, Abamba was offered the opportunity to pay what he owed in full alongside any interest and penalties due, through HMRC’s civil Contractual Disclosure Facility route.

However, he ignored this chance, and as a result HMRC began a criminal investigation into his tax affairs. He was later charged with cheating the public revenue, contrary to common law.

John Cooper, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “Abamba should have done the right thing by declaring this income. He was given the opportunity to come clean and pay what he owed but he chose to ignore it.

“He now has a criminal record, has ruined his reputation and must rightfully repay the money he stole, plus interest, within three months or face real jail time.

“The majority of us pay the tax that’s due, when it’s due, and it is unfair that people like Abamba think they have the right to steal money that is needed to fund vital public services.

“We know that some landlords are unsure of their tax liabilities which is why we launched the Let Property campaign, but this man clearly knew what he was doing and continued anyway.”