A Ghanaian couple who stole a dead woman’s identity to illegally make £100,000 after settling in Wales have both been jailed.
A judge at Cardiff Crown Court told Catherine Kyie, 33 and Kenneth Boateng, 45 who admitted immigration offences and fraud charges that he had no option but to lock them up despite the effect it was have on their three small children who are being educated at a Welsh primary school.
“What you did went to the heart of undermining the immigration policy of this country” he said.
“Offences of this type enable people to illegally enter, stay and prosper in the UK, obtaining rights and benefits to which they are not entitled and depriving others who may be entitled to come here.
“They also allow false benefits to be obtained at a cost to the legitimate British taxpayer.”
Jailing Kyie – who had claimed to be a woman who had actually died following childbirth – for 15 months and Boateng for 12 months, the judge, Recorder Peter Murphy QC said he was considering their children, aged five, seven and 10, the two youngest having been born in Wales.
“I temper my sentence to take into account the devastating effect on them,” he told the couple as they sat side by side behind the glass panes of the dock.
He said Kyie, who wept throughout the hearing, had been jailed previously in Holland for two months in 2002 and then been returned to Ghana for using a false travel document.
But a marriage certificate showed that by 2003 she was marrying Boateng using the name Joyce Pokuaa, a fellow Ghanaian whose husband had been Dutch, entitling her to travel throughout Europe.
That woman had died three months after giving birth to her son in 2003.
“It shows a persistence and a determination to continue undeterred by (your earlier) setback”, the judge said.
By using the false identity, Kyie was free to travel to the UK and to work here – something which would not have been allowed if the truth had been known.
And as her husband, Boateng was able to come and go without the rigorous checks which would be usually carried out.
Eventually both were able to became British citizens in February 2012.
“But the British passports were obtained illegally”, the judge said.
Prosecutor Roger Griffiths who, when the case began on Monday, said there had been an illegal benefit of more than £128,000 in earnings, child allowance and tax credits, said the revised figure was £104,562.
The couple were also said to have benefited from council accommodation after settling in Newport.
When their home in Kestrel Way, Duffryn was searched by police, a Dutch identity card and passport in the name of Joyce Pokuaa but showing Kyie’s picture were found there along with a passport in the name of Mrs Pokuaa’s son.
The child had been with relatives in Ghana since his mother’s death but when it was decided he should be with an uncle in the UK, they found he could not travel.
His passport had been renewed by Boateng and a woman claiming to be his late mother more than five years after her death.
An investiagtion followed, first in Holland then in Wales.
The couple pleaded guilty to the charges and both were described in court, as hard working and not “scroungers on the state”.
Boateng has had security or driving jobs while Kyie is a cleaner at the University Hospital of Wales.
“She only wanted to come here to give her family a better life” said defence counsel Claire Pickthall.
The judge said he accepted they worked hard but their life here was all based on the identity theft.
Because they received sentences of at least 12 months both will be automatically deported when they are released.