£93m fraud passport scheme is a failure.

Posted: June 13, 2010 in Broken Britain


A multi-million pound scheme to tackle passport fraud has proved to be a failure after it was revealed that only eight people have been caught as a result of the project.

Since 2007, first-time applicants for passports have been required to attend face-to-face interviews with officials from the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) in an attempt to spot fraudsters.

Out of half a million people interviewed so far, just eight have been refused passports on the basis of the evidence obtained, according to official figures. Although 4,000 fraud investigations have been triggered as a result of the interviews, not one has led to a prosecution or conviction.

The system of face-to-face interviews cost £93 million to set up, with £30 million a year running costs on top. It has helped push the price of a standard passport up from £28 in 2001 to £77.50 today.

Under the new system, applicants for passports aged 16 or over, who have never held a UK passport before, must first pass a background check and are then told to arrange an interview at one of 69 offices across the country. Some of the offices are only open two days a week.

In 2006/7, 6,100 applicants were identified as fraudulent by the existing safeguards and prevented from obtaining British passports. In the same year, according to an official government estimate, 9,700 slipped through the net and obtained passports to which they were not entitled.

By 2008/9, the most recent year for which data are available, the number identified as fraudulent and stopped through paper checks had risen to 9,200, while the number estimated to have slipped through the net had fallen to 4,400.


A Congolese immigration offender who used a fake French passport to work illegally in the UK has been jailed for nine months.

Dimonekene Mbaki approached several recruitment agencies in Cardiff and Newport and produced a French passport under the name ‘Robert Berrin’ with his photo on it as proof of his entitlement to work in the UK as an EU citizen.

Mbaki, 35, worked on assembly lines at bakeries before one of the agencies became concerned about the passport and alerted the UK Border Agency. After confirming the passport was fake, officers arrested Mbaki on 7 December 2009 and charged him with possessing a false document and fraud.

Mbaki, of Railway Terrace, Splott, initially denied the offences claiming he had never applied for work at recruitment agencies and that the forged passport was not his.

He later pleaded guilty after investigating officers staged identity parades where fellow agency workers confirmed Mbaki was their colleague ‘Robert Berrin’.

Investigators from the UK Border Agency’s immigration crime team also found Mbaki’s fingerprints on job application forms submitted to the agencies.

He was sentenced to nine months imprisonment by Recorder Winston Roddick QC at Newport Crown Court on Thursday (10 June). The UK Border Agency will seek his deportation from the UK on his release.

Talking about people who are here illegally

A bogus groom was jailed at Leeds Crown Court for 12 months after plotting to stage a sham marriage.

IlieJust days before the planned wedding Shola Bansi Yaya, 23, a Nigerian illegal immigrant, and his fake bride Adejumoke Ariyeye, 24, were arrested as they arrived at church for a meeting with the vicar. The marriage was stopped after an investigation by officers from the UK Border Agency immigration crime team revealed fake documents were being used in the marriage plans.

Yaya and fellow Nigerian Ariyeye, together with Portuguese accomplice Maria Da Grava Correia Tavares Da Silva, 20, were sentenced today for arranging the fake marriage that would have enabled Yaya to apply to take up permanent residence in the UK. Yaya and Da Silva had already pleaded guilty, while Ariyeye, who was in the country legally, was found guilty at court last month.

Yaya was jailed for 12 months. Da Silva and Ariyeye both received suspended 12 month sentences.

The court heard how Yaya, who entered the UK illegally in 2003, approached the vicar at St Peter’s Church, Morley, Leeds, in October last year to make arrangements to marry Da Silva. However, his marriage application aroused the suspicion of the Registrar to the Bishop and Diocese of Wakefield, who reported the marriage request to the UK Border Agency. Well done that person!

Officers from the UK Border Agency immigration crime team launched an investigation into the planned marriage and discovered that many of the details and documents supplied by Yaya were falsified, including his UK address and immigration status. The court also heard that the woman Yaya had taken to meet the vicar was not Da Silva, but was Ariyeye who was fraudulently using Da Silva’s Portuguese passport.

A wedding date was set for Saturday 12 December 2009, however on Tuesday 8 December a staged meeting with the vicar was arranged by the UK Border Agency. When Yaya and Ariyeye (claiming to be Da Silva) arrived at the church they were arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency immigration crime team. Further investigations by the team enabled them to trace Da Silva to an address in London, where she was arrested on 20 January this year. She admitted becoming involved in the scam after she had been offered £500 in exchange for her identity documents.

In interview, Yaya claimed he was introduced to Da Silva in London and then paid £3,000 to arrange a sham marriage to the Portuguese woman. He claimed that Da Silva had subsequently refused to take part in the marriage unless she was given more money, at which point it was arranged for Ariyeye to act as a stand in.


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