Home Office staffer suspended over cash-for-asylum-approval claims

Police arrest man on suspicion of misconduct in public office after alleged demand for £2,000 bribe
The Home Office's Marsham Street HQ Photo: Google Maps

By Jim Dunton

19 Apr 2024

A Home Office official has been suspended from their job following allegations that an asylum seeker was asked for a £2,000 payment to guarantee the success of their application.

The claim has resulted in the arrest of a 30-year-old man on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

An asylum seeker living in Northern Ireland raised the alarm over the demand, which is said to have been made at the beginning of last month.

He told BBC News NI that the Home Office staff member who contacted him appeared to have very specific details from his asylum application and warned of a 95% fail rate for "people like you".

The BBC said it had seen footage of a subsequent video call the asylum seeker received from the civil servant, described as a decision-maker, which has also been passed to police.

It said the footage appeared to show a person using a laptop that had official Home Office software containing case files.

Lancashire Constabulary confirmed to Civil Service World that it had arrested a man on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

"Officers from Lancashire Constabulary alongside partners from the Home Office arrested the man, in his 30s, in the Ramsgreave area of Blackburn on the morning of Tuesday, March 19th," the force said.

"He was also arrested on suspicion of money laundering, bribery, and computer misuse offences. He has been bailed pending further enquiries. An investigation remains in its early stages and enquiries are ongoing."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We expect the highest standards from our staff to ensure asylum claims are properly considered, decisions are sound and that protection is granted to those who genuinely need it.

"The member of staff was arrested and suspended. It would be inappropriate to comment further as the matter is subject to a live police investigation."

The BBC did not identify the asylum seeker who raised the alarm or their home country, but it did describe the man as a former journalist.

The individual said he had been persecuted by authorities in his home country and had arrived in the UK with a fear of authorities here.

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