Monday, May 01, 2006

The Great Asylum Scandal

New Labour's chaotic asylum policy means that unscrupulous landlords like the 'respected businessman' Mohammed Faruq are able to rake in millions from the ordinary, law-abiding income tax and council-tax payer. It's a scandal I don't think The Independent - with its very jaundiced view of all things concerning asylum- will be covering and don't hold your breath for a Johann Hari oped on this topic either.
It's time the liberal-left woke up to the abuse of the routine abuse of the system and stopped attacking those who call for tighter controls of those who can claim asylum in Britain. Britain should always provide a refuge for those genuinely in fear of their lives- like the Jews fleeing Nazi Germany- but the sad fact is that the system has been widely abused by criminal elements and those who are not fleeing persecution at all.

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A respected Oxford businessman ran an asylum benefits scam which netted him and his family more than £500,000, a court heard yesterday. Mohammed Faruq, 56, of Whitson Place, East Oxford, was at the centre of the conspiracy in which he and 15 of his relatives were convicted of fraud and immigration offences. The case, which began with police raids in July 2004, ended yesterday when the final five defendants pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown Court. Eleven of the defendants were sentenced following two trials held in Reading last year, but the Oxford Mail could not report the case until the final five offenders pleaded guilty yesterday and a court order was lifted. Faruq, who owns 60 houses in Oxford and property in Pakistan and is believed to have assets worth between £24m and £25m, will also face compensation proceedings. Jane Bewsey, prosecuting, said: "Mohammed Faruq, a long time resident of Oxford, together with his family, orchestrated a criminal conspiracy designed to bring into this country a number of close members of the family from Pakistan - 11 adults and a large number of children. As a result of bringing in the extended family, the conspiracy stood to gain £611,000." She said all 11 adults claimed to be from Kashmir, apart from Rashida Begum, who pretended to be from Afghanistan. Miss Bewsey said: "In her interview at the asylum office in Croydon, it was established that she couldn't understand an Afghan interpreter, and another one had to be found, who could speak Punjabi." She said Faruq, under the guise of Mair Property Services, was housing his relatives and charging Oxfordshire County Council £365 per night per room of "emergency asylum" accomm- odation. In an earlier trial, Miss Pewsey had outlined how the defendants in the case were all related to Faruq, who moved to Oxford in the 1960s, by blood, marriage or both. Judge Bruce McIntyre said yesterday he would not be recommending the defendants be deported. He told them: "Mr Faruq has offered to repay £611,000, which had been the benefits obtained dishonestly in total as a result of your dishonesty and the dishonesty of others, and he will pay that as a result of confiscation proceedings pending. "He also offered to pay the costs of the trial. "There is no doubt he is more than able to meet those costs. "Secondly, I find it difficult to understand why any of you are still here - given that one adult member of each of your families was refused permission to stay here as long ago as 2002." Confiscation proceedings against Faruq are set to start on June 30.
THE CHARGES Mohammed Faruq, 56 - admitted conspiracy to help relatives gain asylum in the UK by deception and conspiracy to defraud councils and agencies of benefits - jailed for three years and four years, to run concurrently. Haleema Kamal, 27, Khurshid Faruq, 48, both of Whitson Place, and Abdul Quayyum, 46, of Ridgefield Road, were all convicted of conspiracy to help people gain asylum - jailed for 10 months and 15 months, to run concurrently. Sheila Faruq, 54, of Whitson Place, convicted of the same offences and given 10 month and 15 month jail sentences, to run concurrently. Aurang Zeb, 50, and Zafar Iqbal, 43, both of Ridgefield Road, and Chaudry Hussain, 52, of Leys Place, were all sentenced to six months and nine months for the same charges. Shakila Begum, 39, of Ridgefield Road, Jamila Begum, 43 and Shazia Kauser, 31, both of Leys Place, convicted of conspiracy to help relatives gain asylum in the UK by deception and given three month suspended sentences. Abdul Qadeer, 46, and Mohammed Urssud, 36, both of Ridgefield Road, admitted conspiracy to help relatives gain asylum in the UK by deception and conspiracy to defraud councils and agencies of benefits - both were jailed for six months and nine months concurrently. Nasreem Begum, 39, and Fuzzul Begum, 36, both of Ridgefield Road, admitted obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception - given three month jail sentences, suspended for two years. Rashida Begum, 36, admitted obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception, and obtaining more than £19,000 in benefits deception - jailed for six months and nine months to run concurrently.

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