By Daniel Kanu (With agency reports)
A 27-year-old Nigerian student, Chinedu Amadi, has been sentenced to 20 months in jail following his arrest at Leicester Registry Office in the United Kingdom in the middle of a sham wedding with Hungarian Szilvia Basco-Porkolab, aged 38.
According to a report in Daily Mail of UK, Amadi arrived at the Registry Office to marry a ‘’complete stranger’’ who donned a traditional white wedding gown for the occasion.
But unknown to them, UK Home Office investigators who were tipped off by a suspicious registrar lay in wait in a side room for the pair to arrive before their arrest.
The investigators put a stop to the sham marriage just minutes before the bride and groom exchanged their vows.
Amadi was said to have paid £5,000 to an unknown ‘fixer’ to arrange the bogus wedding with an EU national to allow him stay in the UK.
After their arrest, investigators discovered Basco-Porkolab was involved in an earlier sham marriage to another Nigerian, Ikechukwu Egbe, at Greta Green in May 2011.
Basco-Porkolab, living in Leicester, admitted two counts of conspiracy to breach immigration laws relating to sham marriages, and was jailed for 34 months.
Also Amadi, living in Livingstone Road, Gillingham, admitted a similar count and was jailed for 20 months.
Egbe, 34, of Narborough Road, Leicester, was convicted of one offence of conspiracy, and jailed for 30 months.
A fourth person, Rubin Durgos 39, admitted conspiracy, in the intended sham marriage of Amadi. She was to be the bride, before Basco-Porkolab stepped in at the last minute.
Durgos, also a Hungarian, of Forest Road, Coalville, Leicestershire, was jailed for 20 months.
Sentencing at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Philip Head said: “What you did in your own ways was to cheat all those who loyally and honestly abide by the system.”
Andy Radcliffe, a Home Office inspector, said after the case: “These were brazen attempts to trample over both the immigration laws and the institution of marriage.
“Amadi had such contempt for the law that he felt he could change his bride during the process of organising the wedding and still get away with it. Durgos and Porkolab thought they could marry as often as they liked. They were wrong.
“The message is clear – immigration abuse will not be tolerated and we will take the strongest possible action against those involved.
“We work closely with registrars across the region and our dedicated crime teams will continue to make life as tough as possible for those who seek to abuse the immigration system.”
In mitigation, the court heard Egbe and Amadi had entered the UK legitimately on student visas, which had not expired.
Egbe enrolled at Leicester Business Academy, which then closed and he was concerned his visa would be revoked.
He was ‘desperate’ to stay in the country, the court heard.
All the defendants are likely to be deported after their sentences.