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Man with expired Pakistani passport charged with PUP fraud

A courier with an expired Pakistani passport has been charged with allegedly claiming €6,650 euro in fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment payments following a Garda probe.

Khurram Cheema, 39, who resides in County Cork, appeared before the Bandon District Court on a number of PUP-related charges.

Judge Colm Roberts heard that the charges relate to PUP that was allegedly collected fraudulently between April and September of 2020.

According to Garda Sergeant Kevin Heffernan, Mr. Cheema was arrested in March on five counts, and again this Thursday on 15 counts. Reportedly the accused made no reply to the charges during the arrest following a caution.

Gardaí had no objection to a remand on bail once a number of specific conditions were attached.

Mr. Cheema, who had previously worked as a taxi driver, was granted bail on condition that he surrendered his Irish passport, agreed not to apply for any new travel documents, follow a curfew, be available for contact from an Garda Síochana at all times and continue to live at an address specified by police.

Mr. Cheema’s legal defence, solicitor Graham Hyde, said that his client is not a flight risk, and that he is an Irish national with a Pakistani background.

The court heard that Mr. Cheema’s wife and family had lived in Pakistan previously before successfully applying to join him in Ireland.

Additionally, it was found that Cheema was in possession of an expired Pakistani passport, which was also surrendered to the Gardaí.

Mr Cheema was released on bail, and is set to appear before the court again on May 20th of this year.

The charge followed a Garda probe into PUP claims allegedly lodged by people who had travelled overseas.


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