Rogue border agency official jailed

 

Scores of immigrants who were fraudulently issued with visas by a rogue UK Border Agency official remain at large almost four years later, a court has heard.

Nigerian Samuel Shoyeju, an immigration officer, was today jailed for seven years for falsely granting indefinite leave to remain to 44 non-EU residents who were not entitled to stay in the country.

Only 14 of the false letters that he issued have been recovered, meaning most of the recipients have not been identified.

Judge Christopher Mitchell said the case threatened to undermine the hard-won reputation for "probity and honesty" of British civil servants.

He added: "Actions like yours call into question in the public mind the entire integrity of the immigration system when, at the present time, immigration and immigration decisions are extremely sensitive."

Basildon Crown Court heard the "treasured status" allowed immigrants to live, work and claim benefits as well as applying for full British citizenship.

The recipients, who are all believed to be Nigerian, ranged from asylum seekers to those who had already identified as "overstayers".

Prosecutor Lucy Kennedy said: "Not all of those people have been traced."

She added: "This case has cost the taxpayer a significant amount of money, both in terms of the investigation and in terms of those who remain in the country untraced.

"He abused the system he was employed to protect and he did so for his own selfish reasons, not out of some misguided sense of altruism.

"It was a breach of trust which will no doubt undermine confidence in public servants employed to protect UK borders."

Shoyeju, who worked as a line manager in Croydon, amended and destroyed electronic and paper records to cover his tracks.

He used colleagues' date stamps and accessed secure databases under other people's names to divert attention away from himself.

When his home computer was searched a file called "Nigerian names" was found, relating to those he planned to grant visas to.

He was able to use a generic computer log-in to transfer secure files from Home Office systems without being identified, Ms Kennedy said.

"That system relies on the integrity of immigration officials themselves," Ms Kennedy added.

"He had been employed to uphold immigration rules but, using his intricate inside knowledge of the system, he deliberately did the opposite."

The 53-year-old, of Namur Road, Canvey Island, Essex, admitted misconduct in public office by falsely granting indefinite leave to remain between 2006 and 2007.

Although the prosecution has not been able to prove a financial motive, the court heard thousands of pounds were paid into his bank account during the time of the offence.

Stephen Linehan QC, in mitigation, said that there was not sufficient evidence that Shoyeju had a financial motive and could not be sentenced on that basis.

Judge Christopher Mitchell said: "An immense amount of public time and money has been spent investigating and preparing this case."

Shoyeju arrived in the UK in 1988 and was allowed to remain until 1991 as a student.

The married father-of-three was then granted indefinite leave to remain as the spouse of a British citizen and was granted full citizenship in 1996.

He began working as an immigration officer in 2002.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London