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Church of England vicar faces jail over sham marriages

By Pat Hurst

A Church of England vicar is facing jail today after carrying out sham marriages which allowed illegal immigrants to remain in the UK.

The Rev Canon Dr John Magumba carried out at least 28 bogus weddings at two churches in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, according to Border Agency officials.

Sham weddings usually involve EU citizens marrying non-Europeans so they can gain the right to live in the UK.

Father-of-six Magumba worked as a team vicar for three churches in all in Rochdale - St Peter's Church, Newbold, St Luke's in Deeplish and St Mary's.

The 58-year-old, originally from Uganda, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU person.

He will be sentenced at Bolton Crown Court later today.

He has also admitted two counts of theft from his church councils by not declaring income from weddings and funerals, comprising of the theft of £5,400 from St Peter's and a further £2,908 from St Luke's.

Magumba's scam marriage scheme, normally involving Nigerian men and Eastern European women who were EU citizens, spanned from April 2008 until February last year, until it was uncovered by a Border Agency investigation.

Magumba, of Deeplish Road, Rochdale, was suspended by the Diocese of Manchester after his arrest last March.

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