Nigerian man guilty in Oxfordshire sham marriage probe

Abiola Abdul Kareem behind woman in white
Image caption Border Agency officers raided the ceremony at Abingdon Register officer

A Nigerian national has been found guilty of attempting to organise a sham marriage in Oxfordshire.

Abiola Abdul Kareem was arrested by UK Border Agency officers as he arrived for a wedding ceremony at Abingdon Register office, in May last year.

He had helped arrange the ceremony that was due to take place between Nigerian Idowu James Ojomu, 36, and 20-year-old French national Maria Deroff.

Kareem, 32 of of Woodfarm Road, Oxford, will be sentenced on 20 July.

Ojomu hoped to gain permission to live and work in the UK as a result of the marriage and in the months leading up to the ceremony he had transferred around £5,000 to Kareem, the UK Border Agency said.

Following his arrest evidence of involvement in a number of other suspicious weddings was discovered.

'Fuel demand'

Image caption Kareem had earlier admitted assisting unlawful immigration and bigamy

At earlier hearings Kareem had admitted four charges of assisting unlawful immigration, including a charge relating to the Ojomu marriage, and one charge of bigamy.

However, following a trial at Oxford Crown Court Abdul Kareem was also found guilty on Monday of another count of assisting unlawful immigration and money laundering offences.

John Donachy, from the UK Border Agency, said: "Our main aim is to identify the organisers like Abdul Kareem who profit from and fuel the demand for sham marriages and destroy their criminal business.

"We are working closely with registrars to identify marriages that may not be genuine, and where we suspect that may be the case we will investigate."

At previous hearings in 2010 Ojomu had pleaded guilty to charges of perjury and overstaying his visa, while Deroff had admitted perjury and assisting unlawful immigration.

They were sentenced to 11 months and eight months respectively.

Ojomu has since been deported.

More on this story