He was an African student in Britain trying to get an Msc in Financial Management after his first degree at the University of Ghana.
On October 7, 2007, however, there was a turn of events for him, beginning with an interrogation and subsequent arrest by some immigration officers in London.
Maxwell Maundy, while telling his chilling story of his experience in the Queen’s land on Paul Adom-Otchere’s Good Evening Ghana program, dwelled on how he eventually caused the arrest of a corrupt immigration officer who tried to demand bribe in exchange for his seized documents.
Giving details, Mr. Maundy explained how he was arrested by immigration officers in the country over an expired study permit during his one-and-half-year duration course at the Middlesex University.
An African officer among the 6 others (British and Asians) who interrogated him over his immigration documents on his way to school did everything in his power to ensure he was arrested and detained.
Though he begged to be given a chance to complete his course, graduate and leave the very next moment, Maxwell recalled having his passport taken away from him at the immigration office and being served with a removal note and a ticket with which he had to return home.
Much to his surprise, the African officer of Nigerian descent who was the ‘mastermind’ behind his arrest and removal requested for his number through a sheet of paper which he (the officer) dropped by him in the immigration van which conveyed him to the office.
It was calls after calls with an offer to secure his seized passport back to him if he was ready to “pay some money”; specifically, 1,500 Pounds.
Shocked about the development, he reported it to the Barking police station indicating his doubts about the credibility of the said immigration officer.
After taking his statement and further probing him, the police decided to verify his claims by going undercover to provide evidence before any actions can be taken.
After a two-day brief training on what to do, the police set up Maxwell’s phone with a recording device, set up their equipment at the Blackheath railway station where they had arranged to meet for the exchange of the first half of the money (they came to a compromise on 1,000 pounds after Maxwell said he had no money to pay the bribe), and laid in wait.
Details of the meeting was filmed as it happened. The first 500 pounds provided by the police was given to the immigration officer and the conversation was recorded.
The officer who earned around 30,000 pounds a year was subsequently arrested and given a 3-year jail term by the Blackfriars Crown Court after several court proceedings.
Here’s Maxwell Maundy’s account of events as they happened in a conversation with Metro TV’s Paul Adom Otchere:
On the 7th of October I was on my way to school at Middlesex University by which time my resident permit had expired and when I got to Hendon Central tube station, I was stopped by immigration law enforcement officers, they asked me my immigration status and I told them I was a student, they asked when my student visa will expire, they eventually found out I had become an illegal immigrant because my permit had expired.
They checked my belongings and realised indeed I was a student. They asked how it is that I paid so much money to do my masters (9,000 pounds) and I didn’t have a student visa. I told them I had been in London for some time before and its obvious things had changed, commonwealth citizens, after European Union, we were no longer needed like before, and I was tired, I just wanted to do my Masters, finish and go back to my country to live a decent life.
I told them if they could spare me on that day, and come back on my graduation day, the moment I collect my certificate from Middlesex, I’ll go with them, catch the next available flight back to Ghana.
Unfortunately, some officers were sad but the black officer who stopped me was adamant so they said they had to do what they had to do. In all, they were about 6 officers, one of them was a Black male, one British lady and the others were Asians.
Eventually it was the black officer and the British lady who handcuffed me and moved me from the station to the immigration van at the back. So what they did was to send me home, took my passport and took me to the immigration office, then they served me with removal note and ticket.
The black officer who stopped me, he did booking and all that right in front of me. The arrest was on 7th October 2007 and the removal date was going to be on the following Saturday; 13th October, 2007.
After I was released and going home, one of the officers (the black officer) after writing on a piece of paper requesting for his number several times, he started calling to go and pay bribe so he can sell my passport back to me.
He (the immigration officer) said, I can do something for you, if you can pay some money for me to give you back your passport”.
I disliked him because of how he treated me so inhumanely. Because of the persistent calls, how he treated me inhumanely, and the corruption being a black man in the Queens land, then I decided maybe I could teach him a lesson.
I decided to report to the police. The next day I went to the Barking police station to report. I told them about the persistent calls and bribe request, adding that I wasn’t sure if they were genuine immigration officers so I’m reporting so he could be arrested.
A lady cop took me into the interview room and took a statement. After she took the statement, she then invited the CID in charge.
He (CID Boss) said, are you Maxwell Maundy, I hear you are making a very serious allegation against a police officer, I hope you are not making this up as an attempt to stay in this country. However, if this turns out to be true, it is going to become a big case and we will do anything possible to make sure you stay in this country.
He took a statement from me, afterwards, he invited the anti-corruption branch of the metropolitan assembly, they came in and took up the case from there.
They said they’ll keep me in a hotel and train me to do an undercover. What I agreed with the officer was that, if I agreed to do the deal, I’ll bring half of the charge, 500 pounds. Eventually they connected a recording device to my phone for me to call him. All our conversations were recorded on that. They asked me to try to postpone to the next day so they can train me. Now that we knew each other after he introduced himself, he spoke as a normal African.
We arranged to meet at the Blackheath railway station.
We met, and exchanged the money, I was careful what to say per the undercover training so I don’t ruin the evidence. We shook hands and the agreement was that he’ll give me the passport when I pay the rest of the money.
It was after I returned that I saw a TV at the station and realised they possibly watched everything live. The case went to court after.