A Nigerian illegal immigrant and the bogus father of her new-born baby were told today they are facing prison after he posed as the dad so she could stay in the UK.
The audacious plot was exposed when Home Office investigators found photographs posted online of the true father - a Nigerian illegal - at the child’s Christening ceremony.
The mother was facing deportation and paid the stand-in £1,000 to pass himself off as the baby’s father so she and her son could remain.
“You face the prospect of custodial sentences,” Inner London Crown Court Judge Mark Bishop told Fausat Abolore, 29, and Anthony Ezekpo, 44, adjourning the case until October 17.
Jobless UK-born Ezekpo, of Litchfild Street, Winlaton, Gateshead allowed his name to be falsely entered on the baby’s birth certificate as the father and a bogus passport application was also made.
Both he and Abolore, of Colombus Square, Erith were both found guilty of conspiring to breach immigration law.
A third defendant, nurse Samson Awoyinka, 29, of Havil Street, Southwark, who countersigned the passport application, was acquitted of one count of making a false statement.
Abolore and Ezepko were also convicted of one count of giving false information when registering a birth and Abolore alone found guilty of seeking leave to remain in the UK by deception.
Abolore gave birth at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich on August 6, 2014 and Home Office investigators found a picture on her phone of her partner, Peter Gentry, cradling the new born.
The Nigerian-born couple have no status in the UK and there are no records of them ever entering the country legally.
He is the true father, the jury were told, but as he had no right to remain in the country a plan was hatched to find a stand-in citizen.
“It was necessary for Miss Abolore to find a British citizen and that’s where Mr. Ezekpo come in,” explained prosecutor Mr. Alan Gardner.
|Ezekpo & Awoyinka|
“He was enlisted as part of a fraudulent scheme to get British citizenship for her to remain in the UK.”
However, online photographs of the baby’s naming ceremony on September 15, 2014 with Mr. Gentry in the role of doting father were found, exposing the fraud, the jury were told.
“A man turned up with her at council offices in Greenwich to register the birth and get a birth certificate.
“The man putting himself forward as the father was not Mr. Gentry, but Mr. Ezekpo and they both said they lived together at 111 Chandlers Drive, Erith, a false address.
“Having obtained the birth certificate Miss Abolore makes an application for a passport and this is signed by Mr. Ezekpo and countersigned by Mr. Awoyinka.
“He said he knew Mr. Ezekpo for five years from his church congregation. This was not true, he barely knew the man.
“British-born Mr. Ezekpo has a separate life from Miss Abolore, he lives near Newcastle.
“When he was questioned he told a pack of lies and refused to give the PIN to unlock his phone,” added Mr. Gardner. “He said someone must have stolen his identity and he had never been to Greenwich.
“He was questioned a second time and changed his story. He said he had an affair with Miss Abolore and she became pregnant and told him the child was his.
“He then admitted he signed the passport application and went to Greenwich.”
Abolore was co-habiting with Mr. Gentry when she was arrested on September 17, last year. “On her phone was a picture of Mr, Gentry holding his newborn son as the hospital.”
The jury was told Abolore was under Home Office investigation and she had no legal basis to be in the UK.
“She said Mr. Gentry was not the father and that he (Ezekpo) was trying to save her face at the naming ceremony.”
Abolore refused consent to a DNA test.
“She had a great deal to hide. She knew if she gave consent to the DNA test it would reveal the truth that Mr. Ezekpo was not the father and her application for a passport and birth certificate were all lies.
Home Office investigators discovered a text Ezekpo sent Abolore giving her his date of birth and bank details.
“He was going to get paid for lending his name to this commercial enterprise,” added Mr. Gardner.
The £1,000 payment was transferred to his account the same day he was entered on the baby’s birth certificate.
She has since had a second child with Gentry.