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CSCS card fraudster jailed

A man who used a false name to work on construction sites across London has been sentenced to six months in jail, following an investigation by the Home Office and the CITB.

Gideon Emeka Okafor, a 23-year-old Nigerian national, was sentenced last Thursday at Sheffield Crown Court after he was found using a French national identification card to obtain his Construction Skills Certification Scheme card.

Following his arrest in November 2016, Mr Okafor was charged with obtaining the card illegally.

According to the CITB, Mr Okafor is understood to have used the fake CSCS card to work on sites across London for more than a year.

The investigation found a card had been issued in the name of ‘Patrice Beziat’, Mr Okafor’s alias.

Mr Okafor is the second person to be jailed for card fraud in the last six months as a result of Home Office and CITB investigations.

Last October, Indian national Manjit Multani was jailed for 18 months and recommended for deportation after he paid someone to sit the health and safety tests required to obtain a CSCS card and Construction Plant Certification Scheme card.

A total of 4,615 cards have been taken away by the CITB as part of an ongoing probe after the BBC’s Newsnight programme revealed in 2015 that workers were paying cash to fraudulently pass CSCS tests.

CITB fraud manager Ian Sidney said this week: “The CITB is working closely with the Home Office to keep fraud out of construction.

“We hope that the sentencing of this young man sends a message loud and clear to fraudsters – there’s no place for you in the construction industry and you will be caught.

“The case also highlights the need for employers to be vigilant in checking workers’ documentation and to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

“Fraudsters on construction sites present a danger to themselves and others and we need to work together to stamp this activity out.”

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