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19 October 2010, 16:48
Four people have been convicted of immigration offences, after being caught trying to stage a sham marriage in Peterborough earlier this year.
The case involves the groom Fernando Da Silva, the best man Mamadu Djalo and the witness Clifford Asikhia.
43 year old Da Silva, of Lincoln Road, 33 year old Djalo, of Russell Street and 34 year old Asikhia, or All Saints Road, were all found guilty of trying to facilitate a breach of UK immigration laws earlier.
The bride, 29 year old Ruth Abumhere, of Grandsen House in Bowditch, pleaded guilty to attempting to seek leave to remain by deception and possession with intent of a false identity document at an earlier hearing.
The four had been arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency’s Immigration Crime Team who, on the back of intelligence received, were lying in wait at All Saints Church, Park Road, on the wedding day, 17 May.
Nigerian national Abumhere, an illegal entrant to the UK, was marrying Portuguese national Da Silva hoping that it would win her long term residency in the country.
Subsequent investigations by the UK Border Agency revealed Da Silva knew little about the woman he was due to marry.
In interview he could not pronounce her surname correctly, nor spell it.
He did not know the names of any members of her family, nor whether she had any children.
Abumhere also initially insisted the marriage was genuine.
However, when officers searched her home address, they found evidence indicating the man she was in a relationship with was not Da Silva, but the witness, Nigerian national, Clifford Asikhia.
At the Russell Street home of Portuguese national Djalo, officers discovered a series of blank false Portuguese ID cards.
In interview he also admitted to participating in another sham marriage to a Nigerian national some years previously.
Sam Bullimore, UK Border Agency Assistant Director, said:"Let’s be clear - A marriage certificate is simply not enough to get residency in the UK - the relationship also has to be genuine.
In this case, the bride was in love with a member of the wedding party, but it was the witness, not the groom.
If we receive any intelligence that a sham marriage is being planned or has already taken place, we will take action and, ultimately, deport those involved."
The four are due to be sentenced on 9 November.