Another Church of England vicar is facing a long prison sentence after admitting staging 31 sham marriages.
The Rev Canon John Magumba, 58, conducted weddings between illegal immigrant brides and grooms and EU passport holders they barely knew so they could remain in Britain.
The Ugandan-born vicar also admitted pocketing over £8,000 that was given to his church in fees or donations from genuine weddings and funerals.
Investigators from the UK Border Agency were tipped off earlier this year that Magumba, who covered three churches in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was helping illegal immigrants take part in bogus weddings.
Equipped with marriage certificates, immigrants were then able to obtain a visa allowing them leave to stay in Britain with full access to education, healthcare and welfare benefits.
He also admitted stealing £5,437 from St Peter’s Church and £2,908 from St Luke’s Church, both in Rochdale – a total of £8,345.
He was granted bail and will be sentenced in January.
The vicar, of Deeplish, Rochdale, was arrested in March after an investigation into 100 sham marriages and suspended by the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch.
Immigration investigators have been examining allegations that marriage banns were not read out by Magumba for ceremonies involving immigrants.
Names and addresses of brides and grooms should be read out at three services prior to the wedding and details posted for anyone to see.
Magumba was team vicar for the South Rochdale team ministry, overseeing three churches in the area – St Peter’s, Newbold, St Luke’s, Deeplish, and St Mary’s, Balderstone.
A member of the Association of Christian Counsellors, he has lectured on the challenges of ministering to Britain’s growing African population and written a Phd on Christianity in Uganda.
Yesterday a Diocese of Manchester spokesman said: ‘Reverend Canon John Magumba has pleaded guilty to contravening the Immigration Act by conducting irregular weddings and theft from churches.
‘The highest standards are expected from all clergy. It is extremely rare for clergy to abuse the trust placed in them by their congregation, community and bishop.
‘At present Rev Magumba is suspended by the Bishop of Manchester. His suspension will continue while formal procedures begin into his conduct.
Last year another Church of England minister was jailed for four years over the biggest fake-wedding scam Britain has seen.
Rev Alex Brown abused his position at his Victorian parish church in the seaside town of St Leonards, East Sussex, to marry 360 illegal immigrants to complete strangers.
Between 2005 and 2009, Brown married up to eight couples a day and was found guilty of breaching immigration laws.
He also pleaded guilty to solemnising a marriage according to the rites of the Church of England without banns being properly read. Source: Daily Mail.
Earlier this week three marriage visa fixers were jailed at Leicester Crown Court for taking part in a sham marriage conspiracy to secure the right to remain in the UK for an illegal immigrant.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk