On Friday 30 January, Sandra Okah (now Daudirgaite) of Chapel Drive, Dartford, Kent, was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court to five years imprisonment for immigration and security offences.
In the summer of 2012, the SIA received intelligence about Blue Feathers Guarding Ltd, Woolwich, London. The intelligence identified illegal practices at Blue Feathers, including immigration offences. The SIA shared the information with the Home Office and Blue Feathers’ offices were searched. During the search a large amount of forged documentation was found and seized, and arrests made.
Sandra Okah was married to Anthony Okah, who ran the Blue Feathers security company with his business partner Victor Chiazor. In March 2014, both men were sentenced for assisting unlawful immigration, running a security company without the necessary SIA licences, and for employing unlicensed individuals who did not have the right to work in the UK.
In November 2014, at Blackfriars Crown Court, Sandra Okah was found guilty of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration and deploying unlicensed security guards. Okah was subject to pre-sentence reports and sentencing was postponed until 30 January 2015.
In sentencing, Judge Sullivan noted that Sandra Okah was one of the directors of Blue Feathers Guarding, and she was married to the other director. She had helped set up the company, and she was a bank signatory. She was well aware of what was happening.
The court heard that a third to half of the Blue Feathers workforce had no right to work in the United Kingdom, they were exploited by having to work long hours, and they were paid below the minimum wage.
SIA Head of Investigation Darren Woodhouse said:
“The sentencing of Sandra Okah sends out a very strong message to those in the security industry who chose to work outside the law.
“The SIA is committed to working with our enforcement partners to tackle serious and organised crime, and to disrupt criminal activity across the UK.”
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA's main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter (SIAuk).