An employee of a Midlothian porridge company had a fake ID linked to the African presidential candidate

A man caught working illegally in a Scottish porridge factory was using a fake identity card linked to a presidential candidate in The Gambia who shared his name.

Ismaila Ceesay fled her Gambian homeland to Scotland to escape a spate of murders that claimed the lives of members of her family, a court has heard.

Ceesay then got a job at the Stoats factory making porridge bars in Midlothian.

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The 44-year-old obtained a Swedish identity card with details of Dr Ismaila Ceesay who was running for president in The Gambia.

He was nabbed after an anonymous letter was sent to his bosses with a web link to a story about a Dr Ceesay’s election race, the Record reports.

Ceesay appeared in Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court on Thursday and admitted having a fake identity card and working illegally in the UK.

Tax MP Jack Caster said Ceesay had worked for Stoats for about two years when an anonymous letter was sent to his senior executives alleging he was working illegally.

Mr Caster said the letter included a link to a story about an Ismaila Ceesay who previously lived in Edinburgh but returned to The Gambia where he was running for president.

Ceesay worked at Stoats.

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The court heard that Ceesay had been called by his employers to discuss the contents of the letter.

Mr Caster said: ‘During the conversation he admitted the allegations were true.

The prosecutor said the company contacted the Home Office whose officials searched for Ceesay’s address and found a Gambian passport issued to him confirming his nationality.

Arrested by the police and taken to the town’s St Leonards station, officers asked Ceesay if he was Swedish.

He replied, “No, I’m not Swedish.

Defense agent Liam Kildare said his client came to Scotland alone ten years ago to escape conflict in The Gambia.

Mr Kildare said: ‘Several members of his family were murdered by government soldiers and he found it necessary to flee.’

The lawyer said Ceesay stayed with friends and struggled to find enough money to eat or dress.

Mr Kildare said: ‘He obtained, through a friend, a Swedish identity card relating to someone who shared the same name as him.

“This person had dual nationality for The Gambia and Sweden.

“The intention of Mr. Ceesay in possession of this identity card was to find work. The intention was to work illegally rather than for the purpose of impersonating to commit more serious offences.

“His intention was to survive.”

The court was told that Ceesay married a British national in November 2020 and that this gave her the right to stay in the UK and work here.

Mr Kildare admitted that Ceesay was not entitled to work before that date.

He said Ceesay was a first-time offender who was currently “between jobs”.

Ceesay admitted to the two offenses which were committed at Stoats’ premises in Loanhead between August 1, 2018 and November 18, 2020, the day before her wedding.

Sheriff Nigel Ross postponed sentencing on Ceesay, of the city’s Longstone area, until later this month for reports.

Last year it was reported that Gambia Citizens Alliance presidential candidate Dr Ismaila Ceesay had renounced his Swedish citizenship as he prepared for his presidential run.

It was reported that Dr Ceesay obtained Swedish citizenship in 2002 after studying there and previously lived in Scotland where he studied at the University of Edinburgh.

Presidential elections held in The Gambia last December were won by incumbent President Adama Barrow.

Laura J. Boyer