Detectives arrest, arraign Nigerian-Lebanese girl, over forged travel documents


• Morris
 ...For possessing multiple e-passport too
 By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
Desperate to leave the shores of Nigeria, a 24 –year- old Lebanese-Nigerian, Mariam Morris went ahead and procured forged travel documents. But that act has landed her into trouble, as she has ended up in police net and finally, in court. The long arm o f the law caught up with her when she went to the Canadian Embassy to apply for visa.

 She was nabbed by detectives attached the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) Ikoyi, Lagos, after they got a tip-off from officials of the Canadian Embassy.
 The mulatto was alleged to have two International passports and other forged documents in her possession.

 Crimewatch investigation revealed that Mariam, who is a student of University of Abuja, was in desperate search for greener pasture before someone sold the idea of applying for a Canadian visa, to her. Her intention was to go to Canada to work as a nanny. Not satisfied with the documents presented, the Canadian Embassy turned down her request for visa after several attempts.
 But determined to travel by hook or crook, she contracted a travel agent, one Mr. Toheeb, who demanded the sum of N1.3million for his service.

 She claimed to have paid N800, 000 to Toheeb, who promised to procure the relevant documents that will help facilitate her application for a student visa. One of the conditions, however, was for her to get a new passport. According to her, she applied and was given e- passport at Ikoyi office of the Nigerian Immigration Service.

 Armed with all manner of documents, Mariam applied for a student visa. But like a cat laying ambush for rats , the Embassy detected that she applied for visa with different passports and names, thereby aborting her dream.
 In the course of investigation, it was discovered that she submitted an application for a visa known as ‘Care Giver’, using a Nigerian standard passport number AO1610638. The names in the passport are, Mariam Morris Richa, and it was issued on December 29,2009.

 The suspect was, however, advised by her agent to acquire a new passport, which she did. The passport has the name, Mary Bassey and was issued on May 12, 2011, with passport number AO2965791. It was also discovered that all the documents, except the international passport are fake.

 Mariam has since been arraigned at a Lagos Magistrate Court 6 on a 13- count-charge. The charge reads in part: “That you, Mariam Morris, on or about 6 of April, 2011, in Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial district, did conspire with others at large to commit felony to wit: forgery and uttering and thereby committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap.32 VoL.11, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.
 That you, Mariam Morris in the month of May, 2011, at the Immigration Passport office, Ikoyi, Lagos, did obtain Passport No.AO2965791 with an identity as Bassey Mary, with a date of birth as 31st October, 1987, a representation you know to be false and thereby, committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 484(e) of the Criminal Code, Cap.C.17, Vol. II, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.”

 “That you Mariam Morris, as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, did knowingly and unlawfully possessed two (2) Nigeria Electronic Standard Valid passport No. AO2965791, with a date of birth as 31st October, 1987, bearing your photograph in order for both passports to be acted upon as genuine by the Canadian Deputy High Commission, or any other person in Nigeria or elsewhere and thereby, committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 430 of the Criminal Code, Cap. C17, Vol. II, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.That you, Mariam Morris “F” and others at large, on the same date, time and place, did forge West Africa Examination Council Certificate (WAEC) number 4251630266, bearing Bassey Mary, with your photograph on it, in order for it to be acted upon as genuine by the Canadian Deputy High Commission or any other person in Nigeria or elsewhere and thereby, committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 467 of the Criminal Code, Cap.17, Vol.II Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.”

 “That you, Mariam Morris and others at large, on the same date, time and place, with intent to obtain Canadian students’ visa by deception, did knowingly and fraudulently forged Police Character Certificate, purportedly issued by the Police Central Criminal Registry, Lagos, bearing Bassey Mary, with your passport photograph, dated 16th May, 2011, with intent for it to be acted upon as genuine, by the Canadian Deputy High Commission or any other person in Nigeria or elsewhere and thereby, committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 467of the Criminal Code, Cap.C17, Vol. II Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.

 That you, Mariam Morris and others at large, on the same date, time and place, with intent to obtain Canadian Student visa by deception, did knowingly and fraudulently forge Marriage Certificate purportedly issued by Ansar-Ud-Deen Central Mosque, Lagos, with names of Bassey Offing Godswill ‘M’ and Bassey Mary ‘F’ with intent for it to be acted upon as genuine by the Canadian Deputy High Commission or any other person in Nigeria or elsewhere and thereby, committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under section 467(m)of the Criminal Code, Cap C17, Vol. II, Lagos State of Nigeria,2003.”

 “That you, Mariam Morris and others at large, on the same date, time and place with, intent to obtain Canadian student visa by deception, did knowingly and fraudulently forged a Statement of Account purportedly issued to you by Ecobank PLC, Lagos, bearing Bassey Mary with intent for it to be acted upon as genuine, by the Canadian Deputy High Commission or any other person in Nigeria or elsewhere and thereby, committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under section 467(g) of the Criminal Code, Cap.C17,Vol.II, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria,2003.

 That you, Mariam Morris, and others at large, on the same date, time and place with the intent to obtain a Canadian student visa by deception, did knowingly and fraudulently forged Certificate of Occupancy Number.3000206, date 8th November, 1994, and survey plan No.GDS/LA/73/2004 purportedly issued to you by Ikorodu Local government Area, Lagos, with intent for it to be acted upon as genuine by the Canadian Deputy High Commission or any other person in Nigeria or elsewhere and thereby, committed an offence, contrary to and punishable under Section 467 of the Criminal Code , Cap. C 17, Vol. II, laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.

 That you, Mariam Morris, on the 15th day of August, 2011, at Canadian Deputy High Commission, 4 Anifowoshe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, with intent to obtain Canadian Student visa by deception, and fraudulently, uttered fake West African Examination Council Certificate (WAEC) number 4251630266, Police Character Certificate, Marriage Certificate, purportedly issued by Ansar-Ud-Deen Central Mosque, Statement of Account of Ecobank, Certificate of Registration of Birth, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Certificate of Registration of Business Name, Lagos State government offer of Building/Housing Scheme No. MH/EST/EIH/Oko-Oba/EO1359 dated, 2nd February 2007, and final allocation letter No. MH/EST/EIH/AJAH/EO1359/M11/16/9, dated 21/10/2002, Re-Invitation to a meeting at Abraham Adesanya Housing Estate, Ajah, Letter No. MH/EST/EIH/AJAH/EO/1359 dated, 6th June 2006, Re-Application for swop from Ajah Housing scheme to 2 Bedroom at Oko Oba Housing scheme letter No. MH/EST/EIH/AJAH/EO1359, Certificate of Occupancy, Lagos State Development and Property Corporation Letter of Allotment No. ES/MCH/OP/24/4 dated, August 6, 2009, and Nigeria Electronic Standard Valid passport No.AO1610638, with a date of birth as 31st October 1987, bearing your photograph and passport No. AO2965791, with a date of birth as 31st October, 1987, in order for it to be acted upon as genuine by the Canadian Deputy High Commission or any other person in Nigeria or elsewhere and thereby, committed an offence, contrary to Section 467 and punishable under Section 468 of the Criminal Code, Cap. C.17, Vol.II, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.

 On the possibility of procuring multiple e- passport, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State command, Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr. Muyiwa Odunubi, debunked the claim, insisting that the new e-passport cannot be processed for an individual twice. He said in an event of loss, the person would be referred to passport office in Abuja.
 “The process is that every applicant is expected to come with a guarantor and above all, his/her finger print would be taken. If such an individual had applied before, the biometric machine would reject any other attempt. Recently, we had reasons to raid the Oluwale, where some of these passports are forged and were shocked at how real those passports looked like. It was when we scanned them that we discovered that they were fake.
 “If properly investigated, I believe, she must have got it from a crook, who posed as an Immigration officer. Prospective applicants should note that there are lots of touts, parading the passport office, claiming to be agents, when in real sense, they are dubious. There is no short cut to acquiring the new e-passport,” he said.

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