Pastor in court for breaking immigration law

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Windhoek

A Zambian national appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday for allegedly violating his visitor’s permit by preaching after he arrived in the country.

Wishes Kaswende, 28, was arrested last week Thursday. He faces charges under the Immigration Control Act for acting in conflict with his visitor’s permit.
Kaswende on Wednesday pleaded guilty to the charge.

He explained that he arrived in Namibia last Thursday morning.
“My mission was to visit the high commissioner of Zambia, however the commissioner was not in.
“I then went to a lodge to rest. People came and they knew I was a pastor. They formed a queue and I prayed for them and counselled them,” he said.

“I did not know that it was wrong but now I undertand that it was wrong. I ask for forgiveness because it was not the intention.”

When asked by the court what the permit allowed him to do, Kaswende replied that it was to visit the country. But he admitted that he conducted business by counselling people.
Prosecutor Joseph Andreas requested that the matter be remanded to December 04.

“After questioning the accused, the court is not satisfied that the accused has admitted guilt on all the elements of the offence that he is charged with, and thus enters a non-guilty plea,” the prosecutor said.
The accused was remanded in custody but was informed he could formally apply for bail.
Magistrate Ingrid Unengu presided.

In July, a joint operation between the police and immigration officials that targeted foreign-owned churches in Windhoek led to the arrest of 42 foreigners on a Sunday – after they were found to be in the country illegally.
Nineteen babies and children were arrested alongside their mothers.
Those arrested included 39 Zimbabweans and three Angolans.

Their Sunday service religious crusades were conducted outdoors in the bush, in and around some of Windhoek’s impoverished areas, which aroused the suspicion of the police.

The operation was led by the Khomas Police Regional Community Affairs Officer, Inspector Christina van Dunem Fonsech, a team of immigration officers and members of Nampol’s legal department.

Fonsech said the mothers and children were housed at a government shelter while waiting to be deported.
The majority of those arrested had no passports. Some of them had passports that had expired.

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