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Asylum seeker jailed for stealing ID

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image Northampton Crown Court

An officer with the Air Force of Zimbabwe had her identity stolen by a woman who fled to the UK, claimed asylum and got married to an unsuspecting husband under the false identity, a court heard.

Last Friday, Winnie Ngwerume, 38, was jailed for 15 months at the Northampton Crown Court in the case involving Zimbabwe’s Criminal Investigations Department, Interpol and British police.

The court heard Winnie Ngwerume fraudulently secured a birth certificate and passport of a Mona Lisa Ngwerume and arrived in the UK in 2001.

She was granted asylum to remain in the UK under the false name, and got married in 2003.

Prosecuting, Willain Falshaw said Ngwerume was arrested in Northampton after the real Mona Lisa Ngwerume in Zimbabwe had discovered that her identity had been stolen.

She worked for the Air Force of Zimbabwe and was unable to travel abroad for training because a passport had been issued in her name and someone purporting to be her was living in the UK.

The court heard she was then arrested, questioned and detained by the Zimbabwean CID.

Falshaw said it was only when she made a statement at the British Consulate in Harare and contacted Interpol that Winnie Ngwerume was finally arrested in Northampton on September 30 last month.

Paul Tweddle, defending, said that Ngwerume "fled Zimbabwe in 2001 after opposing Robert Mugabe's regime".

A judge recommended that she should be deported after serving her sentence.

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