9th Dec, 2016

Woman used sister's passport to get job at TGI in Coventry

Coventry Editorial 14th Mar, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A GAMBIAN woman used her sister’s passport to get a job and earned more than £140,000 over years at a Coventry restaurant.

But Sohna Jeng’s scam came to light when management at the TGI Friday restaurant became suspicious after carrying out a review of its employees in 2014.

Jeng (37) of Chandos Street, Coventry, was jailed for eight months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of possessing false identity documents with improper intent.

Prosecutor Andrew Tucker said that Jeng had originally been allowed entry into the UK on a six-month visitor’s visa, and she was refused further leave to remain when that expired.

But, after failing to leave the country, in July 2007 she used her sister’s name and passport to get a job at TGI Friday.

It was a genuine passport which also contained a ‘leave to remain’ stamp because her sister was married to an EU national, and a photocopy of it was taken and kept at the restaurant.

In March 2014 she went for an interview with the Blue Arrow job agency and produced what appeared to be a passport in her sister’s name with an ‘indefinite leave to remain’ stamp.

As a result she was able to get a job in which she earned more than £12,000.

But in June that year, back at TGI Friday, the management carried out a review of staff and Jeng was asked to produce her passport.

She handed over the same passport in her sister’s name.

When Jeng was arrested and questioned, she admitted having initially used her sister’s genuine passport and then a false copy of it.

She explained she had done so out of desperation because she was afraid of being returned to Gambia.

Justin Jarmola, defending, accepted: “I concede that a custodial sentence should be imposed because there is a public policy in play that there needs to be a deterrent sentence.”

But he said Jeng has instructed solicitors to make an application for asylum because ‘a return to the Gambia for this lady is putting her at significant risk of serious bodily injury.’

And he pointed out that since 2007 Jeng, who had been regularly promoted, had contributed to the economy and been paying taxes.

Jailing Jeng, Recorder Thomas Rochford told her: “As long ago as 2007 you went for a job using your sister’s passport, and on two further occasions in 2014 you used what appeared to be your sister’s passport, but bearing false stamps.

“You were not entitled at the time to obtain work in this country.

“You have worked hard while you have been in this country and have made a positive contribution, paying your taxes and suchlike.

“I make no findings about what your personal circumstances are and what might happen were you returned to the Gambia. That is not a matter for me.

“But the passport system must be protected and its integrity preserved.”