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Gloucestershire Business News

Policeman jailed for fraud

A policeman has been jailed for fraud and possessing false identity documentation.

Clarence Mungendje, of Marsh Gardens, Cheltenham pleaded guilty at Gloucester crown court to possession of an identification document with improper intention on 15th November last year.

The court was told the 35 year old Namibian had a Dutch ID card in the name of Patriot Jansen.

Mungendje also admitted fraud by false representation on 29th October 2018 when he pretended to be Patriot Jansen in the Gloucester branch of Halifax.

Prosecutor Janine Wood told Judge Ian Lawrie QC that Mungendje was seeking to open a bank account and presented the ID card to a member of staff, along with a council tax bill in the name 'P Jansen'.

The card had an image of Mungendje on the front, but the staff member became suspicious as the writing on the back was 'blurred'.

"The hologram appeared to be written with a silver pen," the prosecutor added.

It was noted that he also had an unsigned credit card in the name of P Jansen, Mrs Wood added.

He was arrested from his home address of Marsh Gardens, the prosecutor said.

"There was a lot of documentation at his flat. Some of it was genuine.

"A woman who was there was not arrested and has vanished.

"What concerned me was how did they rent the property?" Mrs Wood said. "What documents did they use?

"To open the tenancy it was the use of fraudulent documentation."

Mrs Wood confirmed that he had no previous convictions.

Ian Fenny, representing Mugendje said: "My understanding is that he has applied for asylum from Namibia

"He was a police officer in Namibia and he and his family's lives were threatened."

The court heard he had already served the equivalent of a five month prison sentence on remand, which was the usual length of a jail term imposed for this offence.

However the court heard that even if he was to be given a sentence which meant he had served his prison term already, he would not be released, but instead taken to a local police station.

"He has been served immigration papers," Mrs Wood told the judge, indicating that he would become the responsibility of the Home Office and would not be released.

"There is a sense of shame," Mr Fenny said.

"Having served as a police officer for three years in Namibia to now stand in Gloucester crown court brings that shame.

"When he left Namibia seeking sanctuary the last thing he expected to was to be here."

Mr Fenny suggested it was easy 'to ignore the plight of the refugee'.

"There is a sense of detachment when one sees it on the television screens.

"I do not say he was brought here exploited by people traffickers.

"But once here he was a fish out of water.

"He is not a sophisticated man, and he comes from a completely different culture.

"He comes here with expectations of hope. He was suddenly exposed to others.

"The first thing that migrants often do is be drawn to those of the same background. Not all foster his sense of integrity.

"It was pointed out to him that Namibian documentation would cut very little ice when it came to renting property in Britain.

"And so it came he was pressured into buying false documentation. He had invested some faith in these people.

"That woman, who has gone missing from his address, was clearly higher up the immigrant exploitation food chain," Mr Fenny said.

"He describes jail as a very dark experience. He has focused upon his asylum application.

"He travelled with his wife, and she has disappeared.

"Arrest by authorities where he comes from carries rather more sinister connotations," the barrister said.

"He has little doubt, that once this is behind him, he can focus on what matters, seeking asylum in this country.

"I suggest he has served enough time," Mr Fenny concluded.

"I agree," Judge Lawrie ruled. "With his age and good character, it is a matter of regret he is here.

"None of us in this court have had to go through what he has, having to flee his country."

Imposing a six week jail term Judge Lawrie said : "I do not ignore you were a police officer.

"It is a significant fall from grace. You have had time to reflect on your error of judgement.

"You are in a foreign land applying for asylum. This would have been your first taste of custody.

"As far as I am concerned you have served your custodial sentence

"I wish you well in your application," the judge concluded.

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