Friday, December 16, 2011
A black African vicar has been warned that he faced going to jail for some time after he admitted staging 31 sham marriages
The Rev Canon John Magumba, 58, conducted weddings between illegal immigrant brides and grooms and EU passport holders they barely knew so they could remain in Britain. The Ugandan-born vicar also admitted pocketing over £8,000 that was given to his church in fees or donations from genuine weddings and funerals. Investigators from the British Border Agency were tipped off earlier in 2011 that Magumba, who covered three churches in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was helping illegal immigrants take part in bogus weddings. Equipped with marriage certificates, immigrants were then able to obtain a visa allowing them leave to stay in Britain with full access to education, healthcare and welfare benefits. At Bolton Crown Court, Magumba pleaded guilty to conspiracy to breaching British immigration law by conducting sham marriages and also two counts of theft. Magumba admitted conspiring with a number of people in facilitating the commission of a breach in immigration law between April 2008 and February 2011. He also admitted stealing £5,437 from St Peter's Church and £2,908 from St Luke's Church, both in Rochdale – a total of £8,345. He was granted bail and will be sentenced in January 2012.