Disgraced former councillor guilty of fraud to stay free until October after lodging appeal

Disgraced former Wolverhampton Councillor Harman Banger, who was found guilty with his wife of fraud, will be at liberty until at least October.

Disgraced for Wolverhampton councillor Harman Banger
Disgraced for Wolverhampton councillor Harman Banger

Banger and wife Neena Kumari were found guilty of lying to get a £10,000 Covid grant for a fantasy business in December.

The pair were due to be sentenced this week but Banger has appealed his conviction, which was delivered by a judge not jury, and it will not be heard until October 17.

It is believed Banger has fired his barrister and has now instructed a QC to represent him in the appeal.

A spokesman for the CPS told the Express and Star today: "An appeal against conviction is listed for 17/10/22."

During a seven day trial in November District Judge David Murray heard how Mrs Kumari claimed £10,000 for a company called Pizza Plus.

However, the court heard the property in Orchard Road, Bilston had no electricity, was boarded up and was not listed on food delivery apps like Deliveroo.

Judge Walker found the pair guilty of fraud by false representation and stressed how the cover up, which led to a number of people taking the stand to say they had brought chicken and chips from Kamari, would count against the former Labour councillor in sentencing.

The maximum sentence for fraud by false representation is ten years.

Banger was the cabinet member for the economy at Wolverhampton City Council at the time of the fraud and even had responsibility for delivering bounce-back loans to local businesses struggling with the effects of the first lockdown in Spring 2020.

However, after the alarm was raised about the bogus claim an investigation by Wolverhampton Council’s counter-fraud team and West Midlands police found the pair had fraudulently claimed when applying for financial assistance.

Banger's old seat East Park is now vacant and Wolverhampton City Council has notified the public of a by-election after he resigned from the seat three days after being found guilty on December 17.

"East Park - notice is hereby given that a casual vacancy has arisen in office of councillor for the above ward due to the resignation of Councillor Harman Banger on 21 December 2021.

"A request to hold a by-election to fill the vacancy must be made."

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