Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 July 2015
A Sierra Leonean in London, who falsely claimed to be a solicitor has been found guilty of providing unregulated immigration advice and services.
Mr Martin Solomon Randolph Kekurah, 64, of Fortune Place, Bermondsey, London, was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court on 3rd July 2015.
Mr Kekurah falsely claimed to be a solicitor with Clintons Solicitors, a company which had formerly been in existence, but at the time of the offences had ceased trading. Mr Kekurah was not qualified as a solicitor and had no connection to the firm.
Upon sentencing, Judge Nicolas Lorraine –Smith said:
“I’m satisfied you are manipulative and greedy. You have been preying on vulnerable people who needed immigration advice. You knew what you were doing was wrong and you have done everything possible to avoid detection and conviction”.
Speaking about the decision, Immigration Services Commissioner, Suzanne McCarthy, said:
“Illegally providing immigration advice is a serious offence, and the sentence handed down today reflects this. Peddling illegal immigration advice ruins people’s lives”.
Two weeks ago, another unscrupulous Sierra Leonean man living in London, who falsely presented himself as a solicitor in a separate and unrelated case, was also convicted of providing illegal immigration advice.
The Sierra Leonean – Edward Sarkoh, aged 38, of Ida Road, Tottenham, London, was convicted on 16 June 2015, at the City of London Magistrates’ Court of providing unregulated immigration advice and services.
He was sentenced on 25th June 2015 to 10 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay compensation to the victim in the sum of £2,350, prosecutions costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £80.
Mr Sarkoh had falsely presented himself as a qualified solicitor to persons from the Sierra Leone community. In fact he was actually employed at the time of his deception as a bus driver.
Sentencing him, District Judge Holdham said;
“You pleaded not guilty and claimed you were in a relationship with the victim so I can give you no credit. In some ways you are a talented man but the public are entitled to know that when they receive immigration advice that advisers possess the right qualifications.
“You have been convicted of providing advice when you are not qualified. This was nothing short of fraud when you claimed to hold these qualifications. This offence passes the custody threshold”.
Speaking about the decision, the Immigration Services Commissioner, Suzanne McCarthy said;
“We have clear standards outlining what we expect in terms of the fitness and competence of regulated advisers. Mr Sarkoh chose to operate outside the law.
“I am delighted with the outcome of this case, and I hope it sends a clear message to other people considering providing immigration advice- either act within the law or you will find yourself in court”.