Sep 4, 2009, 5:16 AM
Professional Gambian lawyers here in the UK have once again called on their fellow citizens residing in the country to contact them for any legal advice regarding marriage and other immigration issues to prevent them from falling victim of any form of wrong-doing.
Such a voice was echoed as another Gambian is held over an alleged ‘shame’ marriage by the UK Border Agency.
The Gambian was arrested moments before he was due to take part in what the UK Border Agency called a suspected ‘sham’ marriage in Preston. Preston is a city and the administrative centre of Lancashire located on the north bank of the River Ribble.
The police reportedly gathered intelligence that the relationship involving a 39-year-old Gambian man (name withheld by this correspondent for privacy purposes) may in fact not be genuine, but instead a ‘sham marriage’. He was planning to marriage a 57-year-old British woman (also name withheld).
A sham marriage usually occurs when a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area as a means of attempting to gain long-term residency.
Thus UK Border Agency personnel also attended Preston register office, Park hotel on East Cliff, in disguised and minutes prior to the marriage ceremony taking place, the officers promptly intervened. As a result of such intervention, the man was arrested.
The UK Border Agency also revealed that the Gambian man arrested was interviewed and further checks revealed that he was in the UK ‘illegally’. The marriage ceremony suddenly came to an abrupt end in the midst of shocked invitees, and the Gambian man was subsequently detained.
Following the arrest, Colin Berrington, assistant director, North West Immigration Enforcement team, Home Office said: ‘We are working closely with registrars to clamp down on sham weddings and civil partnerships…This operation is another example of the success that we are having…Where there are suspicions that a relationship may not be genuine we will investigate and, if necessary, intervene to stop it happening’.
The British lady was reportedly questioned by officers and later released, while the groom has been detained. Police sources said his detention is pending his removal from the UK.
It is important to note that most of the Gambian solicitors here are very approachable, highly qualified, well-respected and very determined to take up Gambian cases with affordable fees. Their contacts are visible in the various websites.