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Labor MP on housing fraud cries as she describes family home leak



(Joe Giddens / PA)

Labor MP accused of housing fraud cried in court as she described the ‘traumatic’ moment when she called the police and fled the family home after an argument with her brother in which he claimed she was possessed .

Apsana Begum, 31, who is on trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, said she went to a police station on May 21, 2013 for fear of honor-based violence after her brother followed her to work.

On the same day, the Poplar and Limehouse MP said an argument broke out at her family home in east London when her brother locked her in the living room.

He thought I was possessed and said he wanted me to be controlled

Apsana Begum

She said: “He told me that he wanted me to see an imam because I was not expressing their concern about (his partner) Ehtashamul (Haque).

“He thought I was possessed and said he wanted me to be controlled.

“I refused and said I wasn’t under the spell, it’s my choice and I just wanted them to support me. But he started to recite the Quran. He had his hand on my head.

“I started screaming for my mom but she wasn’t responding. I didn’t know what was going to happen next.

“I thought he could beat me.”

Begum said she managed to call 999 and when police arrived she fled with only her purse.

A court clerk handed Begum tissues as she said she needed to collect her things her family had placed in black trash bags outside their home on Woodstock Terrace.

Testifying on Monday wearing a white shirt and gray scarf, Begum told the jury that his Bangladeshi-born family disapproved of his relationship with Mr Haque, who is now a City Councilor for Tower Hamlets.

Begum met Mr. Haque while completing a graduate degree in community leadership. He was seven years older and had been married twice before, and his family did not consider him a suitable partner for them.

She denies three counts of housing fraud for allegedly withholding information about her living conditions in order to skip the queue for a council house between January 2013 and March 2016.

Tower Hamlets counsel, which initiates the prosecution, alleged it cost the local authority £ 63,928.

Begum is accused of failing to inform council that she no longer lived in overcrowded housing – as she claimed when she applied for social housing – after moving in with Mr Haque.

She claims to have called the council to notify them for housing tax purposes and believed they would share the information.

She said it was a time of “turbulence” due to the breakdown of her relationship with her family and the fact that she had lost her father months before.

La Begum also claims that Mr. Haque was “controlling and coercive” and had taken over his “business and affairs”.

“We started a new life together – it wasn’t easy but that’s what we chose. He said he would tell everyone, ”she added.

In an interview with the council’s fraud investigation team on January 21, 2020, a transcript of which was read in court, she said: “I was going through a lot of turmoil at the time, escaping a situation. abusive and later realizing that he (Mr. Haque) was very, very abusive.

“He told me he was minding my business and my business. He had my contact details, bank details, he made transfers and all that.

In response to evidence that her account had made offers for houses when she was known to live with Mr. Haque, she denied making the offers and said: “I am shocked to see these files.”

When asked if the offers could have been made by Mr Haque, Begum said: “It must have been him. He had access to the accounts.

Begum’s defense attorney Helen Law last week said investigators had failed to “make the connection,” including that the complaint about his claims in 2019 was filed by a relative of Mr. Haque, Sayed Nahid Uddin.

She said she separated from Mr Haque after cheating on her in mid-2016. She added that she was also worried that he had a drinking problem.

In November 2016, Begum called the police to report that Mr Haque was following her from her workplace in his car, after constantly calling and texting her.

The prosecution claims Begum first attempted to secure social housing claiming that she lived in an overcrowded three-bedroom house with her family and did not have a room of her own, making her a higher priority. high in the queue.

However, according to a social housing application made in 2009 by Begum’s aunt, the house had four bedrooms. Begum insists there were only three when she lived there.

Prosecutor James Marsland claimed that she “must have a good understanding of the social housing system and how it works” because she worked for Tower Hamlets Homes (THH), a public organization working with the council to organize social housing, between October 28, 2013 and August 3, 2016.

The MP, who sits on the House of Commons Education Committee, entered Parliament with a majority of 28,904 in the 2019 election.