Assisting unlawful immigration comes with a maximum fourteen-year prison sentence. A Nigerian barrister helps illegal immigrant evade deportation and gets ten months suspended.
Deport, Deport, Deport
Back in May this year Hamdalat Rafiu Amusa, a Nigerian woman living in Rochdale got arrested for the crime of “assisting unlawful immigration”, these are serious charges, and she could have spent up to fourteen years in prison for it. However, she was sentenced to just ten months imprisonment which was suspended for two years, so no imprisonment at all.
Usually, there would have to be an excellent reason for such a light sentence given the gravity of the offence and the maximum penalty that can be applied. Maybe there were some extenuating circumstances we don’t know about? Perhaps she was confused, didn’t know what she was doing, maybe she was totally honest with the Police about the situation and helped them with their enquiries, perhaps she has shown genuine remorse for her crime?
No, no, she did not!
At the time of Hamdalat’s arrest, she was a care worker employed by the NHS even though she had qualified as a lawyer in Nigeria and at the University of Huddersfield gained a Bachelor of Law degree with Honours and a Masters degree in International Law. It’s pretty safe to assume she knew what she was doing was illegal.
Hamdalat, the believing barrister was involved in an immigration scam. Police turned up at her home, knowing that another person had used her identity to get a job, that person was known to walk with a limp and had evaded deportation. In 2014 Elizabeth Bello ( a fellow Nigerian) applied to remain in the UK on the basis she had been in the UK for ten years; however, her application was refused, with no case to appeal.
In 2018 an investigation was launched due to claims that Elizabeth Bello had falsified work documents in order to remain in the United Kingdom. GMP’s Specialist Fraud Investigation Unit and the Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigation Team became suspicious of Hamdalat after noticing a crutch in her living room, Hamdalat said the crutch belonged to a friend of hers. Police left her home and returned five minutes later, upon their return, the crutch had vanished, as if by magic!
Hamdalat told the Police she was alone in her house and eventually admitted there was another woman upstairs, officers found deportation evader Elizabeth Bello sitting on a mattress. Hamdalat allowed Elizabeth to use her identification to gain employment. Police found payslips in the name of Hamadalat Rafiu-Amusa, those wage slips were from a company that Elizabeth Bello worked for from 2013-2017, in fact, her wages were paid directly into a bank account, the name of the account holder was Hamadalat Rafiu-Amusa. Hamadalat was interviewed at Bury Police station under caution; she denied any wrongdoing. She said she was looking forward to the Police letting her know who had been using her identity.
Honestly It’s Illegal
Detective Sergeant Jeff Taylor of GMP’s Specialist Fraud Investigation Unit said:
“As a qualified barrister in Nigeria and the holder of a law degree and masters in international law from Huddersfield University she was well aware of her criminal actions and the penalty such actions attract (Maximum 14 years imprisonment).
Despite this, she provided Bello with documents that enabled her to work purporting to be Amusa and allowed Bello to stay at her home address in return for supplied domestic duties.
Her actions were uncovered as a result of a joint operation between Economic Crime Unit officers and colleagues from Immigration Criminal and Financial investigations.
Despite her education and her standing within the Nigerian community, Amusa proved to be a thoroughly dishonest person, constantly lying to investigators and denying any involvement in criminality. She is very fortunate not to be spending time in prison.
Greater Manchester Police and law enforcement partners will continue to target those involved in fraud and illegal immigration, and I would urge members of the public to report such offences.”
The question has to be is – how the hell is she not in prison for her crimes and her dishonesty?