|Baby Fraud: Fausat Abolore|
The audacious plan was exposed when Home Office investigators found photographs posted online of the true father - another Nigerian illegal - at the child’s Christening ceremony.
The mother was facing deportation and paid the UK national £1,000 to pass himself off as the baby’s father so she and her son could remain.
You were trying to cheat your way into being allowed to stay in this country when you were not allowed to,” Judge Mark Bishop told mum-of-two Fausat Abolore, 29.
“You were doing it for money,” he told 44 year-old Anthony Ezekpo, who accompanied the new mum to register the birth.
“The planning that went into achieving those ends was quite sophisticated and thought through,” he told the pair at Inner London Crown Court.
Jobless UK-born father-of-two Ezekpo, of Litchfield 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.
|Bogus Dad: Anthony Ezekpo|
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.
She pleaded guilty to a separate count of possessing a false identity document, namely a forged Portuguese passport, which she used to get two health care assistant jobs.
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.
It is doubtful Peter Gentry is his real name and eight months ago Abolore had a second child with him.
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.
Abolore continues to protest her innocence, even lying to the probation service after her conviction that Ezekpo is the true father.
“You are a Nigerian national and this means you need leave to remain in the UK if you are to remain in this country,” Judge Bishop told her yesterday (Monday).
“When you had a baby in August 2014 you both agreed to register that baby’s birth with Ezekpo as the father.
“Because you, Ezekpo, are a British citizen that child would then be entitled to a British passport and you Abolore then intended to apply for leave to remain in the UK as the mother of a UK national.
“On the same day as the birth was registered one thousand pounds was paid into Ezekpo’s account so he was plainly doing it for the money.
“Three days later there was an application for the baby’s British passport and this was issued on October 2, 2014.
“The conspiracy advanced it’s objectives and then you Abolore applied for leave to remain in the UK and at that point it was all discovered and you were found out.”
Abolore was refused residency in 2009 and 2011 after sneaking into the country, but was never deported and worked illegally in two care homes under the bogus Portuguese identity.
Her lawyer Mr. Terence Woods told the court: “Her desperation was borne out of a desire for a better life for her child in this country rather than west Africa, where she grew up.”
Ezekpo’s lawyer Mr. Matthew Grove said: “We’re dealing with a smaller case. Whether motivated by financial gain or humanitarian kindness the sentences are lower than large cases.
“His participation is limited and is anxious any sentence is suspended and he can retain his liberty. These proceedings were a shock to the system.”
Prosecutor Mr. Alan Gardner told the trial 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.
“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.