An NHS substance misuse nurse has been jailed for a year for working illegally in a prison with a false passport and falsely obtaining a £20,000 nursing diploma.
Definate Tendayi Mukwe’s leave to remain in the UK expired in February 2003 and she was refused an extension. But Chelmsford Crown Court heard that in 2004 she began training as a registered nurse and obtained a student bursary to take a £20,636 nursing diploma at Thames Valley University.
The bursary was conditional on settled status in the UK, which she claimed with a falsely endorsed passport.
Mukwe was registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and was arrested in December 2008 at her workplace, HMP Chelmsford, where she had worked as a substance misuse nurse for six months.
She had used an altered Zimbabwean passport to prove her entitlement to work.
After being interviewed, Mukwe was charged with possessing the false passport with intent, and fraud by false representation in connection with her job application.
She was also charged with overstaying and remanded in custody at HMP Holloway. A further charge of obtaining money transfers by deception was added after NHS Counter Fraud obtained further evidence in relation to her bursary.
After an initial not guilty plea at her trial earlier this week, Ms Mukwe admitted possessing the false passport, obtaining the money transfers by deception and overstaying. The fraud charge relating to her job application lies on file.
Sentencing Mukwe for a year’s imprisonment - six months for the passport offence and six months for the money transfers - his Honour Judge Gratwicke said: ‘[This] is money you are not entitled to - it is not your money.’