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Sham wedding vicar jailed

JAIL TIME: Reverend Canon Dr John Magumba was jailed for two years

A CHURCH OF England vicar, who was caught performing 28 sham marriages, has been jailed for two and a half years, it was revealed today.

Reverend Canon Dr John Magumba carried out the bogus ceremonies at two churches in Manchester over a three-year period to allow illegal immigrants the right to stay in the UK.

The 58-year-old, who pleaded guilty in December, was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court today.

"What you did repeatedly amounted to very serious breaches of the immigration laws of this country properly designed to prevent those with no entitlement to reside in the UK from doing so," Judge William Morris told him.

"Whatever your motive for facilitating the fraudulent entry into this country of these individuals, neither you or anyone else in your place, can place your conscience above the laws of this country. Your offences have brought scandal to the church and let down your family and parishioners," he continued.

The Ugandan-born vicar, who was arrested in March as part of an investigation by the UK Border Agency, also pleaded guilty to theft. He is believed to have swindled more than £8,000 from his church council by not declaring income from weddings and funerals.

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