A 61-YEAR-OLD Zimbabwe Conference of Sabbath Keeping Church pastor appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday facing fraud and forgery charge after he forged an immigration receipt as proof of payment for a work permit.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Dwight Eric Haynes, who holds an American passport, pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before magistrate Josephine Sande, who remanded him to November 10 on $200 bail.
The complainants in the matter are Zimbabwe Conference of Sabbath Keeping Adventists Church represented by Bishop Abdulla Bader Ahomed and the immigration department, represented by Nyatwa Bunya.
It is the State’s case that sometime in 2013, Haynes was employed by the church for the purpose of pastoring and teaching.
As a foreigner, the church agreed to employ him under the conditions that he would apply for a work permit and the church was responsible for payment for the permit.
The State alleges on October 6 last year, Haynes requested for $1 500 from the church for his temporary employment permit and the money was transferred into his bank account.
It is alleged instead of paying for the temporary employment permit, Haynes converted the money to his own use.
The court heard that to cover up for his actions, on October 15, he tendered a fictitious receipt bearing a total of $1 500 as proof of payment for the permit to the immigration department and to his church.
The alleged offence came to light when the church got a tip-off that the receipt was forged.
Church officials proceeded to the immigration department with the document to seek authenticity and it was confirmed that it had been forged.
Linda Gadzikwa appeared for the State.