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Zimbabwean man sues BBC over benefits fraud story

Zimbabwean born reporter Mkhululi Mpofu has indicated motives to sue BBC TV for a program that featured him and his wife for the case they were 4 years ago convicted of benefit fraud.

Mpofu gave details concerning the matter which he says has been manipulated and misrepresented by media.

Below was his statement in which he also explained to ZimEye what he says truly happened before and after his conviction for which he suggests that the BBC exaggerated things: 

About 5 years ago my then partner and I together with my toddler son were made homeless as our tenancy in Willenhall suddenly ended. We had just taken custody of my son from a previous relationship following gross neglect at the hands of the mother. I had to give up my Job in Coventry as a nurse to be able to juggle child care as I worked with an agency. We went through the homeless application process in Walsall as our former address in Willenhall came under Walsall. At this time a friend of mine was accommodating us temporarily in Heath town which fell under Wolverhampton. Since our temporary accommodation was in Wolverhampton we were then encouraged to seek council accommodation in Wolverhampton. Meanwhile a 1 bedroom flat came through in Walsall which was grossly unsuitable for a family of three. We took it nevertheless as we needed somewhere to stay.  We stayed there for about 3 months and then a 2 bedroom property came through in Wolverhampton. We obviously decided to let go of the one in Walsall and took up tenancy in Wolverhampton. The mistake we did was not to inform Wolverhampton council that we had been given tenancy in Walsall. This is why we were convicted of fraud for failing to disclose information thereby depriving other people the accommodation in Woverhampton. In court we admitted that we should have informed the Wolverhampton council that we briefly took tenancy with Walsall before accepting the one in Wolverhampton. According to the Wolverhampton council this would have altered our standing in their application process. We were duly punished. Following the conviction we sought private tenancy in Pendeford for about a year and then decided to relocate to Portugal where my wife comes from. This was in 2014. We have since rebuilt our life in Portugal with our two children.

 Where the BBC programme erred is to portray us as living a “jet set lifestyle” showing some pictures of us in Portugal taken on the 16th of January 2016. Another picture where I was eating a watermelon was also taken way after the incident in 2013. The programme was manipulated to portray a lying couple claiming to be homeless and yet living a lavish lifestyle. Needless to say I have engaged lawyers to assist us in this.

We have since moved on with our lives in Portugal with two healthy children.