3:42 pm - Friday November 16, 7027

DISGRACEFUL: NIGERIA’S ex-Premier League Goalkeeper, ABDUL AZEEZA, Other gangs BUSTED… Selling fake British passports, University degrees for £800 each *Former professional footballer sentenced to four years in jail *Recovered from his kitchen as evidence: a false passport in his back pocket, a residency card in his wallet, including specially adapted tools for dismantling passports, threads for stitching, paint thinners and laminate found at his home in Walworth in South London *His gang members: Alfred Adekoya, 47, of Walworth, sentenced to 40 months and two weeks after pleading guilty to conspiracy to manufacture a fake document. Victor Ariyo, of Nunhead, London, acted as a go-between sentenced to three years in jail, Luke Nkanta, 29, of Woolwich in south-east London, acted as courier; sentenced to 16 months in jail after pleading guilty to possession of an identity document with improper intention *’We have stopped a concerted, systematic and financially motivated assault on the UK’s immigration system’-Immigration Enforcement inspector Ben Thomas BYGEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF & TOMS SHOLAPE/CRIME REPORTER, LONDON

DISGRACEFUL:

NIGERIA’S ex-Premier League Goalkeeper, ABDUL AZEEZA, Other gangs BUSTED… Selling fake British passports, University degrees for £800 each

*Former professional footballer sentenced to four years in jail

*Recovered from his kitchen as evidence: a false passport in his back pocket, a residency card in his wallet, including specially adapted tools for dismantling passports, threads for stitching, paint thinners and laminate found at his home in Walworth in South London

*His gang members: Alfred Adekoya, 47, of Walworth, sentenced to 40 months and two weeks after pleading guilty to conspiracy to manufacture a fake document. Victor Ariyo, of Nunhead, London, acted as a go-between sentenced to three years in jail, Luke Nkanta, 29, of Woolwich in south-east London, acted as courier; sentenced to 16 months in jail after pleading guilty to possession of an identity document with improper intention

*‘We have stopped a concerted, systematic and financially motivated assault on the UK’s immigration system’-Immigration Enforcement inspector Ben Thomas

 

BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF & TOMS SHOLAPE/CRIME REPORTER, LONDON

HE WAS A STAR IN THE NIGERIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE FEW DECADES AGO. NIGERIA’S ex-Premier League Goalkeeper, ABDUL AZEEZA, a 58 year old man who once represented a club in the Nigerian equivalent of the Premier League before retiring in 1996 had put himself into trouble recently, after incriminating documents were found in his home which convinced law enforcement agents he was the mastermind of the fraudulent gang defrauding the British government of funds, flouting United Kingdom immigration laws in the process. He has been arrested, prosecuted and jailed for four years. He also leads a gang that also sells fake British University degrees for £800 each.

Azeeza’s gangs were seven in numbers. Seven men were jailed for making fake British passports and degrees which they sold. The gang were selling the counterfeit documents to immigration offenders to help them live illegally in the UK, a court heard.

But the racket unraveled after an undercover officer placed orders with gang member, Steven Kanaventi, 39. Prosecuting, Lisa Hancox told Woolwich Crown Court: ‘Steven Kanaventi is the person who was at the coalface of taking orders and money and then the chain ran from there.’ She said Kanaventi had even offered to pay £100 for each new customer the officer supplied.

From late 2015 to June 2017, Immigration Enforcement officers uncovered the wide-scale manufacture and distribution of the fake documents by the London and Midlands gang. Kanaventi was said to have been partly responsible for ordering, supplying and delivering the false documents. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture a fake document and was given 40 months and two weeks in jail.

Azeeza notoriously regarded as ‘King of Fraud’ in Immigrant circles was sentenced to four years in jail after the court heard the documents were made at his home. The former goalkeeper was found with a false passport in his back pocket, a residency card in his wallet and ‘all the implements of making them on the kitchen table’.

Some of the items needed to make fake documents, including specially adapted tools for dismantling passports, threads for stitching, paint thinners and laminate, were found at his home in Walworth in South London. Azeeza pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing an identity document with improper intent and possessing equipment with the intention of making fake documents.

Alfred Adekoya, 47, also of Walworth, was sentenced to 40 months and two weeks after pleading guilty to conspiracy to manufacture a fake document.

Victor Ariyo, of Nunhead, London, acted as a go-between for Kanaventi and Adekoya, the court heard.

In a police interview, Ariyo, 53, said he was a go-between for ‘a spiritual service, and that is why money passed through his account’. But he admitted conspiracy to make a fake document and money laundering. He was sentenced to three years in jail.

Luke Nkanta, 29, of Woolwich in south-east London, was said to have acted as courier. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail after pleading guilty to possession of an identity document with improper intention.

Immigration Enforcement inspector Ben Thomas said: ‘The criminal business that Kanaventi and Adekoya were running was designed to undermine the fundamental immigration rule that if you have no legal status in the UK, you have no right to work.

Their customers hoped that the fake documents would be enough to convince prospective employers that they were entitled to work, in turn allowing them to a build a life for themselves in the UK to which they were simply not entitled… We have stopped a concerted, systematic and financially motivated assault on the UK’s immigration system.’

 

Filed in: Sports

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply