Bogus colleges 'used as cover for illegal immigration'
A doctor and a solicitor set up two fake colleges to help illegal immigrants gain leave to remain in Britain, a court heard.
By Heidi Blake
Published: 7:30AM BST 08 Sep 2010
Dr. Kawal Sabharwal, 58, and Adeyinka Adeniren, 39, are on trial alongside two accomplices accused of setting up the bogus higher education institutions in New Cross, south London.
When police raided the Academy College of Education and the Academy College of Training and Recruitment in July 2007, they found the buildings contained nothing more than a collection of bedsitters, Croydon Crown Court heard.
A large amount of educational paperwork in various names was removed from the buildings, and checks on the immigrants living there showed that many had applied for leave to remain in Britain using documents supplied by the colleges.
The applicants had submitted papers to the Home Office which purported to show that they had been studying for a raft of qualifications at the College of Education, the court heard.
Dr Sabharwal allegedly wrote letters to the Home Office claiming that the immigrants had been patients at his GP practices in Hackney and Shoreditch, while Mr Adeniren, of Walworth, south London, represented the immigrants in their claims, acting as Julius Caesar, Solicitors.
When the lawyers officers were raided, police found a number of blank letters signed by Dr Sabharwal, the court heard.
Tramiyu Bello, 75, and his 39-year-old wife, Christina, from Dulwich, south London, are also accused of active involvement in the bogus colleges.
Brian ONeill QC, prosecuting, said: In July, 2007, police attended the address in New Cross Road and large quantities of educational documents in various names were seized. It appeared that some form of educational establishment was operating from the premises but, in actual fact, it was nothing more than a collection of bed-sitters.
He added: Initially, Dr. Sabharwal was regarded as a potential prosecution witness, but subsequent inquiries suggested he was part and parcel of this fraud.
Mrs. Bello was actively involved in the Academy College of Education and the Academy College of Training and Recruitment. Her husband, often referred to as Tom, was prominently and actively involved with the two colleges.
The four defendants are also charged with conspiring to to have certificates and other documents in their possession. They have all pleaded not guilty on all counts and the trial is expected to last ten weeks.
More than 362,000 foreign students were allowed to enter Britain in the year to June, an increase of 35 per cent on the previous year.
Figures show that one in five foreign students is still in Britain five years after arrival, leading to concerns that student visas are being exploited as an easy migration route.
Tens of thousands of foreign students have entered “lower tier” colleges, where it is easier to gain places.
The Coalition announced plans this week to block foreign students from applying to some educational institutions as part of a plan to reduce immigration.
Ministers want to cut the number of overseas students entering Britain by tens of thousands.
A leaked Home Office memo disclosed earlier this year that the points-based immigration system was allowing large numbers of illegal immigrants to slip into Britain on student visas.
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