OMUTHIYA – A 33-year-old Nigerian immigrant’s luck was short-lived when he attempted to marry his alleged Namibian girlfriend Renathe Eichas at Grootfontein Magistrate’s Court on August 30.
The groom-to-be ran out of luck when the solemnising officer, Magistrate Stanley Mwilima Tembwe, discovered that the marriage documents seemed inauthentic. Thus upon further scrutiny and inquiry, together with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, it was established that the documents presented were false and forged. The suspect, Shedrack Ferdinard Nwachukwu, was subsequently arrested on September 4. Nwachukwu appeared in the Grootfontein Magistrate’s Court on September 6, where he was denied bail and remanded in custody. The matter was postponed to October 24 to allow him to seek legal representation.
According to the charge sheet, Nwachukwu faces counts of fraud, forgery and uttering a forged instrument; and contravening the Immigration Control Act, because he was found without a valid permit and for failure to report to an immigration officer.
“Upon or about the 30th of August, 2019, and at or near Grootfontein magistrate court in the district of Grootfontein; the accused did wrongfully, unlawfully, falsely and with intent to defraud, give out and pretend to Mr Stanley Mwilima Tembwe, and or the office of the Judiciary, that he has lawfully obtained confirmation of status documents issued by the immigration officer,” read part of the charge sheet.
It further read, “where as in truth and in fact accused when he so gave out and pretended as aforesaid, well knew that he had not lawfully been issued with a confirmation of status document by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration and it had not been signed by the chief immigration officer. Thus the accused did commit the crime of fraud.” New Era understands that several cases involving such dubious marriage have been discovered thereafter, and are under investigation. This reporter was further informed that there is an intermediary working hand in hand with an immigration official to issue confirmation status letters, without the formal process of marriage screening.
As per procedure, a foreign national can only be allowed to marry after being screened. They are screened on legal status, criminal record and marriage status from the country of origin, among others. In 2017, New Era reported that many foreigners have been using existing loopholes in the system and lure women into marriage under the pretence of love, then vanish into thin air afterwards.
The ministry recorded a total of 6,512 marriages from 2016 to 2017 and of that number 440 were of Namibians who married foreign nationals. Between 2014 and 2015 home affairs and immigration issued around 890 identity certificates to foreign nationals who became Namibian citizens by virtue of marriage. The majority of these were Angolan, Zimbabwean and South African nationals.
2019-09-19 07:17:33 | 9 months ago