17 November 2010
Two convicted over sham marriage for UK Visa
A Dutch “bride” and a Nigerian “groom” have been convicted for their part in a sham marriage at Tilbury church.
The two, Roqsilmar Marti and Gafar Makanjuola, pleaded guilty at Basildon Crown Court last Friday to charges of conspiring to facilitate breaches of UK Immigration law.
The pair was arrested during the wedding ceremony at St John's Church, Dock Road on 25 August.
The marriage was arranged to help 32-year-old Makanjuola, a UK Visa overstayer, to remain in the UK. He had supplied the church with a false passport containing a residency stamp in the name of Abraham Akinola.
A marriage certificate alone does not give foreign nationals the right to live and work in the UK. If their relationship is not genuine, they face prosecution or deportation.
Subsequent investigations revealed that Marti, a 28-year-old woman from Rotterdam, had arrived in the UK the previous day and was booked on a flight back to the Netherlands at 19:00 that evening - just seven hours after the ceremony was to take place.
She claimed that she had met Makanjuola on the internet and they had fallen in love. However, it later emerged that she was in a relationship with a woman in the Netherlands.
UK Border Agency assistant director Sam Bullimore said: 'Today's convictions send out a strong message to those thinking of undertaking sham marriages in order to gain entry to the UK, or seeking to make a profit from helping others to do so.
Both Marti and Makanjuola have been remanded in custody, to be sentenced at a later date.