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Trio jailed for Comic Relief and Children in Need fraud

Three family members have been jailed for defrauding charities of more than £500,000 by applying for funding for spurious projects.

Among the groups which awarded them funds in good faith were the BBC's Children in Need and Comic Relief

Kitumbula Mazambi, his wife Mapendo Kasiba, of London, and his brother Kyalemaninwa Mazambi, of Coventry, had been convicted of conspiracy to steal.

The three were found guilty at Isleworth Crown Court on 4 August.

Police said the projects they applied for were so vague it would be extremely difficult to check whether they had in fact been carried out.

Biology graduate

Detectives found little or no evidence of genuine charitable work being done, but ample evidence of the suspects using the funds to finance their lifestyles or sending the money abroad.

The court heard that they applied for up to £60,000 a time.

A biology graduate of the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kitumbula Mazambi masterminded the fraud.

Kitumbula Mazambi, of Tewkesbury Close, Tottenham, north London, was jailed for four years.

Kyalemaninwa Mazambi, of Winsford Road, Coventry, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

Mapendo Kasiba, of Tewkesbury Close, Tottenham, was given a two-year jail term suspended for 18 months.

Six other defendants were convicted of fraud in four previous trials and are currently serving a combined prison sentence of more than 17 years.

Between them, the nine people defrauded charities of more than £1m.

Another defendant, Bulunda Lungumbu, 52, was found not guilty.

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