A Black Lives Matter activist, who was instrumental in the infamous protest that toppled the statue of Sir Edward Colston, has pleaded guilty to fraud after money donated to a fundraising page she established went missing.

Xahra Saleem, 23, who is also known as Yvonne Maina, pled guilty this month to one count of fraud at the Bristol Crown Court after £30,000 in donations from the public disappeared.

Saleem, a founding member of the BLM-offshoot ‘All Black Lives Bristol’ group, had established an online fundraiser in the days prior to the toppling of the Colston statue, in order to allegedly raise funds for the George Floyd-inspired protest.

According to a report from The Times, the fundraiser promised to donate any additional funds to a local charity to subsidise the cost of a trip to Africa for deprived local children in Bristol. However, the youth group, Changing Your Mindset, claimed that it never received the money and raised the issue with local police. The youth group later shut down entirely after reportedly being disillusioned over the incident.

Saleem was charged with fraud “while occupying a position, namely organiser, in which you were expected to safeguard or not act against the financial interests of ABL Bristol”.

“You dishonestly abused that position intending to make a gain, namely used the funds raised for yourself,” the charge added.

While a trial was planned for December, Saleem appeared before the Bristol Crown Court on September 19th to plead guilty to the charge. She will be sentenced next month.

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