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remanded on bail Courier charged with PUP fraud after garda probe

Man remanded on bail after surrendering passports

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Khurram Cheema outside Bandon District Court in Cork. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Khurram Cheema outside Bandon District Court in Cork. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Khurram Cheema outside Bandon District Court in Cork. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

A COURIER has been charged with allegedly claiming €6,650 in fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Payments (PUP) during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Khurram Cheema (39), of Zunera Lodge, Pier Road, Kinsale, Co Cork, appeared before Bandon District Court on a number of PUP charges.

Judge Colm Roberts was told the charges all relate to dates between April 21 and September 29 last year.

Garda Sergeant Kevin Heffernan said that Mr Cheema was arrested and initially charged with five counts on March 24 last.

The courier made no reply when the charges were formally put to him under arrest and caution.

Mr Cheema was arrested again at 10.20am today after he met gardaí by appointment at Bandon courthouse, where a further 15 counts were levelled against him.

Judge Roberts was told Mr Cheema made no reply when the fresh charges were put to him after caution.

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

Mr Cheema, who previously worked as a taxi driver, was required to surrender his Irish passport, agree not to apply for new travel documents, adhere to a curfew, be available for contact by gardaí on a 24/7 basis and continue to reside at a new address specified at Kippagh in Dunmanway.

Defence solicitor Graham Hyde said his client is an Irish national who has family connections to Pakistan.

The court was told the defendant's wife and family had lived in Pakistan before successfully applying to be able join him in Ireland.

Mr Hyde said his client would adhere to all bail conditions and did not represent a flight risk.

The court heard that Mr Cheema has an expired Pakistani passport and it was ordered that this also be surrendered to gardaí.

Jude Roberts indicated a decision on an application for free legal aid would be dealt with at a future time when a detailed statement of means was supplied to the court.

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Having considered the charge details, Judge Roberts said the matter could be dealt with at district court level.

Mr Cheema was remanded on bail to appear again on May 20.

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


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