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Rochdale vicar enters guilty plea in immigration fraud trial: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2011 p 7. December 31, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Immigration, Marriage.
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Patrick Magumba

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A Manchester vicar is facing imprisonment after pleading guilty to charges of having committed immigration fraud.

On 12 December 2011 the Rev Canon Patrick Magumba entered a guilty plea before the Bolton Crown Court to one count of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law and to two counts of theft.

Canon Magumba, a Ugandan immigrant and the former Team Vicar for the South Rochdale Team Ministry of St Peter’s, Newbold, St Luke’s Deeplish, and St Mary’s, Balderstone, was charged with having conducted 21 fraudulent marriages at St Peter’s and 10 at St Luke’s between April 2008 and February 2011.

On 13 March 2011, the Archdeacon of Rochdale told the congregation of St Peter’s Church that Canon Magumba had been arrested and the rectory and church searched by officers of the UK Border Agency in connection with an investigation of sham marriages in the North West.

A spokesman for the diocese confirmed Canon Magumba had been “questioned by the immigration crime team over irregularities in relation to weddings” and “following proper procedures,” Manchester Bishop Nigel McCulloch suspended Canon Magumba’s “licence to operate as a minister of religion” pending the outcome of the investigation.

The police investigation found the vicar had also pocketed wedding and funeral fees, diverting £5,400 from St Peter’s and £2,908 from St Luke’s. It is not known whether these fees were the proceeds of the fraudulent weddings.

After the plea was entered, Judge Thomas Teague told the cleric that “he must expect to lose his liberty for some time.”

Canon Magumba will be sentenced at Bolton Crown Court on 19 January 2012.

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