Two jailed over passport offences

A court has jailed two men for four months each over passport offences

A court has jailed two men for four months each over passport offences.

In separate arraignments on Friday, Malang Kujabie from Gambia and Zonga Yuosa from Ivory Coast were charged with immigration offences.

Kujabie was accused of being in possession of a passport belonging to another person, trying to make use of it and making a false declaration to the immigration authorities.

Police inspector Lara Butters explained to duty magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo how the man had come to Malta after applying for asylum in Italy, before deciding to leave for Manchester with a fake passport. She insisted a punishment of imprisonment was the only fitting penalty in this case.

Lawyer Leontine Calleja, appointed as legal aid to the accused pointed out to the court that “the accused is also a victim. He was duped” by whoever supplied him with the passport.

Kujabie pleaded guilty to the charges. In the light of the serious security issues raised by such cases, the magistrate jailed him for four months.

In the second arraignment, Inspector Darren Buhagiar charged Yuosa with possessing a forged Italian travel document and knowingly making use of it, as well as with forgery. Yuosa had arrived on a boat last March and had been arrested whilst trying to leave the islands using a falsified passport.

The man pleaded guilty to the charges.

The defence informed the court that the accused had claimed that he was 16, but this suggestion was shot down by the prosecution, who argued that bone density scans carried out by asylum seeker welfare organisation AWAS had established the man’s age as 18.

Many irregular immigrants try and claim to be underage to gain benefits, said the inspector. He insisted on imprisonment.

In the light of his guilty plea, Magistrate Farrugia Frendo jailed Yuosa for four months.

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