Migrant workers leaving Malta to Europe using false identification, arraigned

Police arrest men trying to leave Malta on false documents or identification documents sold by Maltese nationals

A Ghanian construction worker arrested leaving Malta for Naples, was remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to tampering and then using false documents.

Mohammed Muzammil, 35, was arraigned before duty magistrate Claire-Louise Stafrace by Inspector Darren Buhagiar, accused of forging or tampering with three Portuguese immigration documents.

Lawyer Amadeus Cachia, appearing for the accused together with lawyer Franco Debono, said their client had resided in Malta since 2006, and had an apartment and a child here. He had been chasing Identity Malta and getting no answers about his immigration status, said the lawyer. “Someone told him that he could go to Italy and get documents to stay in Malta and he was blinded by this,” he said.

Inspector Buhagiar explained to the court that the man had told police that he had wanted to go to Italy to shop for clothes. “You don’t pay for a false passport to go shopping,” he said.

The court also observed that “he was ready to leave his partner and child to go elsewhere.” The defence replied that this was only “to regularise his position.”

The man pleaded not guilty and requested bail. The Court said it was too early in the proceedings to grant bail and due to the nature of the offences. It appealed to the prosecution to deal with the case expeditiously, however.

Two other men have also pleaded guilty to criminal charges after buying someone else’s identification documents and trying to leave the country.

The Sudanese nationals, Adam Mohammed 18 and Eaiis Bosh Nalimaboba 23 were arraigned before magistrate Claire-Louise Stafrace this morning by Inspector Darren Buhagiar.

Buhagiar told the court that the men were apprehended at the airport yesterday as they were trying to catch a Ryanair flight to Naples at around 1pm, after they were found to be carrying genuine documents which belonged to third parties.

Mohammed had admitted to the police that they had bought the documents for between €500 and €700 from the documents’ original owner. The police are working on tracing this individual, who lives in Malta, said the inspector.

The other man however, had just told the authorities that he had paid the amount but not to whom.

Both men pleaded guilty to possession and use of other person’s identification documents and making false declarations to the immigration authorities.

Magistrate Stafrace told the defendants that she always handed down prison sentences in such cases, but if one of them was going to help the police apprehend other criminals, she was willing to consider alternative punishment.

Lawyer Leontine Calleja asked the court for a lower punishment for the 18-year-old collaborator. The magistrate observed that Mohammed was willing to testify whilst Nalimaboba had initially given false particulars to the police and had not collaborated.

For this reason Nalimaboba was jailed for 6 months whilst the Mohamed received a one-year sentence, suspended for two years.

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