A bumbling Dutch driver with a crutch sat a driving test for his Oldham housemate – and bungled it TWICE.
Father of five Varmuyan Sirleaf, 46, agreed to do a theory exam as a ‘favour’ for close friend Musa Kormah who feared he would not pass.
But silly Sirleaf who walks with a crutch, goofed when he realised he had no could not perfect Kromah’s signature and fled a motoring test centre as bemused examiners looked on.
He went back home to swot up on the Highway Code and his pal’s signature and tried again three months later to re-sit the test pretending to be Kromah, but still failed it anyway.
Police were called after examiners realised Kromah himself had also sat the test between Sirleaf’s bungled attempts – and failed it too.
They examined CCTV footage which showed Sirleaf turning up at the Oldham Driving Theory Test Centre in Greater Manchester to sit the test as Kromah.
When confronted at home Sirleaf retorted: “That’s me – but I’ve committed no crime.”
At Oldham magistrates court Sirleaf, a Dutch national who works in security, faced jail but escaped with a suspended sentence after he insisted he accepted no money for taking the test.
The court heard the flying Dutchman had moved to Britain in 2002 and was joined by his wife and children five years later. He met Mr Kromah when the Libyan national moved into his home in Eden Street, Oldham.
Mr Kromah was issued with a provisional driving licence in August 2013 which was registered to Sirleaf’s home and the security guard offered to take the driving test for him. Miss Kerry Bell, prosecuting said: “After the licence was issued a test was booked at Oldham and the address was given as the same. It was booked for September 19 and paid for on a credit card in the name of Mr Kromah.
“On September 19 the defendant went to that test centre purporting to be Mr Kromah. A member of staff thought he was acting suspicious and the signature wasn’t the same.”
The court heard that he was asked to pen the signature on the back of Mr Kromah’s provisional licence again at Oldham Driving Theory Test Centre but he “became aggressive” and made a call on his mobile phone before saying he had to go because of a ‘’problem.’’ A second theory test was booked in November and Mr Kromah attended it himself but he failed it.
Miss Bell added: “A third test was booked on December 5 in the same name. It is the Crown’s case that the defendant attended and was allowed to sit the test – but fraud was believed.’’ An investigator from the Driving Standards Agency went to Sirleaf’s home in search of Kromah and encountered Sirleaf and realised he was the same man in the CCTV footage.
He said: “Yes that’s me, I tried to take the test but I haven’t committed crime.” Sirleaf was arrested and taken to Chadderton police station, where he became agitated and had to be handcuffed and initially denied the man in the CCTV was him.
But later he told a probation worker that Mr Kromah was one of his friends who he had helped to come to the UK and had needed an address for his passport. Sirleaf agreed to let him use his address and to let him register his licence there too.
The court was told that initially Sirleaf had been ‘very reluctant’, however said he had done it and was sorry for his behaviour. He added that he believed his friend had ‘used him’.
The court was told that he didn’t benefit from any financial gain and was simply “just doing him a favour”. The court the the pair last spoke several months ago but Sirleaf has not heard from him since.
Sirleaf was said to have worked since arriving in the UK in the cleaning and security industry and was presently working for a security firm in the evenings earning between £1200 and £1500 each month despite using a crutch after a knee injury. He denied false representation but was found guilty and sentenced to 26 weeks jail suspended for two years. He must also complete 280 hours unpaid work and must pay £580 in costs.
For Sirleaf Mr Mike Hopkinson said that his client had “accepted responsibility” and added: “There was no evidence of money changing hands in this case, effectively it was a favour for a friend. He is a man of no previous convictions. I would ask you to say that a totality view should be taken of the offending.
‘’As far as the first offence is concerned it really amounts to an attempt more than anything else. He clearly didn’t take the test on that day, he lost his nerve and left. The second, he sat the test. He had done a favour for a friend. He has done something exceedingly stupid. He is a man of good character who will not only lose his liberty potentially, but his job.”
Image courtesy of Alejandra Quiroz, with thanks.