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Nigerian gets six months in prison, on two counts of fraud

Nigerian gets six months in prison, on two counts of fraud

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Following the imposition of a custodial sentence on two counts of fraud, Nigerian Macro-manus Ebuka Ugwu thanked senior magistrate Donald Browne and broke down in tears.{{more}}

“I thank you. I like it here (St Vincent). If I had a father and a mother, I would have been in a better position,” the 20-year-old said as he stood in the prisoner’s dock on Tuesday morning.

Ugwu, who said he was a medical student at the All Saints University in Belair, was sentenced to six months imprisonment for presenting a Form A passport application and birth certificate in the name of Janet Jackson, pretending that Jackson was his mother.

He was sentenced to a further three months in jail for falsely representing himself to immigration officer Shawn Bradshaw, to be the son of Janet Jackson of Belair.

The sentences will run concurrently.

“You couldn’t get in and you decide to break the law in St Vincent. Citizenship for St Vincent is by birth, descent or means by which St Vincent grants citizenship,” magistrate Browne explained.

The magistrate further stated that were it not for the vigilance of immigration officer Bradshaw, Jackson could have found herself in trouble with the law.

“Now our passports are being challenged and gone beyond scrutinizing. Our passports are very genuine,” Browne added.

Rising as a friend of the court, counsel Ronald Marks spoke about some of the positive things the young man had done to get to attend the University here in St Vincent.

“He’s written books, your honour. He’s also an affiliate of Amazon. It is not an easy place in Nigeria,” Marks said.

While stating that he was not trivializing Ugwu’s offence in any way, Marks said Ugwu’s only objective in committing the offence was to get an education.

“We need to look at the culpability of the act… I ask you to look at the facts. There are persons who have abused our system. I’m not trivializing the matter…,” he added.

Marks asked the court to look at a person who would use fraud towards criminals ends and look at what Ugwu used it towards.

In response, Magistrate Browne said the court has to look at the “bigger picture” in the matter.

“Nigeria is the richest and most popular country in Africa… This kind of matter has caused Vincentians to go through processes we have never been before. The Nigerian who has his head on will steer clear of the law,” Browne added.

“I can’t see any way out of this…,” Browne said as he delivered his sentence.

While on the prisoner’s bench, Ugwu placed his face in his palms and began weeping.

After his sentence is finished, Ugwu will be deported.(KW)

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