October is proving to be the month of reckoning for migration scammers. Barely days after Nigerian Prince Dr Yilkyes made headlines during his trial at Canterbury Crown Court for running a huge illegal immigration racket, Taofik Amao, 50, of Stanfield Gardens, Dagenham was handed a two-year sentence for attempting to arrange a fake wedding.
His co-conspirator, Akinwale Akinmade, of Turner Avenue, Seven Sister, was arrested at London Bridge station and charged with conspiracy to facilitate a non-EU national to remain in the UK.
The “Fixers” were uncovered by two of their clients after they conspired to arrange a fake wedding between Oluwaseun Olukokun and 27-year-old Dutch national Scheyecka Nowells in October last year.
The conspiracy crumbled when Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations became suspicious and decided to probe further, to determine whether Olukokun and Nowells are truly in a real relationship. The couple was summoned and during questioning, Nowells broke down and admitted that, the intended marriage was a scam and claimed that the fixers could be seen carrying her red suitcase at London Bridge Station.
Nowells and Olukokun were promptly arrested and the fixers were apprehended.
Upon further questioning, Nowell, Olukokun and Akinmadeidentified Amao as the main fixer. Further evidence on Amao’s laptop and mobile phone also backed their claim.
Nowells, Olukokun and Akinmade pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to 12 months, 18 months and 2 years respectively at Woolwich crown court on 1 February, 2013.
Amao was charged with conspiracy to assist in a breach of immigration law on 20 February 2013 and was found guilty by a jury following a 10-day trial at the Old Bailey which finished on 12 September. He was sentenced to 2 and a half years on Thursday 10 October.
Hannah Shirley, Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations team, Home Office speaking about the case said:
‘Amao clearly thought that he could run roughshod over the UK’s immigration rules and make a profit from his criminality.
‘He was wrong as our officers caught up with him and brought him to justice
‘The Home Office is cracking down on all forms of immigration crime, no matter how large or small, and those who seek to cheat immigration laws face prosecution and conviction.’
Sham marriages is very high and the most likely method illegal immigrant uses to try to get legalised mainly because they feel it is the only route open to them.
Due to the prerequisite for marrying a British national, most illegal immigrants turn to EU nationals as the law governing EU marriages is quite relax and flexible.
UK government has developed zero tolerance to illegal immigration and immigrants and is making it more difficult for them to get legalised. During the summer, the Home Office carried out a campaign ordering illegals to go back to their country or get arrested via a van ad. The campaign received mixed reviews with some residents where the campaign was carried out calling it offensive and nasty.
Unrelenting in their effort to make illegal immigrants unwanted, the government has published a new immigration Bill, which carries a number of proposals to clamp down on sham marriages.
The Bill is recommending the extension of marriage and civil partnership notice to 28 days in England and Wales with flexibility for extension to 70 days where extensive investigation has to be carried out.
Speaking in support of the bill, Immigration Minister Mark Harper said
“The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of immigration. Our immigrant communities are a fundamental part of who we are and we are a richer and stronger society because of them. But the public expects and deserves an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate immigrants and tough on those who abuse the system and flout the law
The Immigration Bill will stop migrants abusing public services to which they are not entitled, reduce the pull factors which draw illegal immigrants to the UK and make it easier to remove people who should not be here
We will continue to welcome the brightest and best migrants who want to contribute to our economy and society and play by the rules. But the law must be on the side of people who respect it, not those who break it.”
If everything goes without any hitch, the Bill would complete its Parliamentary passage during the third session of this Parliament and once the Royal Assent has been received, measures proposed in the bill will be implemented from summer 2014 upwards.
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