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UK News

Jailed treasurer ordered to repay £1 despite defrauding Cathedral of £235,000

by Donna Birrell

A former treasurer of St John the Baptist Catholic Cathedral in Norwich, who is in jail for defrauding the cathedral of £235,000, has been ordered to pay back just £1 because he has no assets.

Rene Mugenzi siphoned off the money while volunteering as the Cathedral's treasurer from 2016 to 2018, as reported by the Eastern Daily Press.

He moved the money, much of which had been donated by the congregation and was designated for charity work, from the Cathedral's account into his own.

Rene Mugenzi is currently serving 27 months in jail for the Fraud by Abuse of Position.

The Bishop of East Anglia, the Right Revd Alan Hopes, said he was disappointed with the ruling which he described as "not proportionate to the scale of the theft from the Cathedral parish." 

He added: "It is in stark contrast to the support and generosity of so many parishioners at the Cathedral and across the Diocese when they learnt of the theft. We continue to be very grateful for this support."

At Norwich Crown Court earlier this week, Judge Maureen Bacon QC said that of the £235,000 taken, Mugenzi would have to pay £1 and he was given seven days to pay. 

It's reported that 45 year old Mugenzi, who was sentenced last October, blamed his gambling addiction for his crime. At his sentencing, the court was told that he had had full access to the cathedral's bank account and that there were no checks in place.

Canon David Paul, the Cathedral Dean, said: "The Diocese and the Cathedral Parish Finance Committee have now put more robust measures in place to ensure, as far as possible, it will not happen again.

"We have fully reimbursed all third-party charities, where some of the money given to us in second collections was intended to go. All the losses are now against cathedral funds. Fortunately, we have been able to recover some of the funds from our insurers to help mitigate the losses."


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