FOREIGN pastors are allegedly being forced to bribe Government officials to avoid being reported to Immigration Department for deportation, it has been revealed.
This came to light following the arrest and planned deportation of Pastor Austine Obosele who claims that his deportation stems from his refusal to pay a K30, 000 bribe to a named Ministry official.
Some of them revealed to the Daily Nation that foreign pastors were being targeted by some ministry officials without the minister’s knowledge.
This was also confirmed by one of the local church leaders.
“My pastor was asked to bribe someone at the Immigration office K20, 000 so that he could be given a permit,” the Lusaka-based church leader disclosed.
The church leader who preferred anonymity explained that his pastor, a Congolese national pastoring a church in one of the compounds in Lusaka, had his permit extended after paying K20, 000.
He said after his pastor applied for his permit’s renewal, the application was rejected twice and was told that his position needed to be Zambianised, meaning it had to be given to a Zambian pastor to lead the church and he was advised to apply for the third time. The church leader explained that his pastor was then advised by his Congolese friend, a fellow pastor who has married a Zambian lady, a lawyer by profession.
He said the lawyer told his pastor that she knew someone from Immigration Department and if that person could be bribed with a K20, 000, he would be given a permit.
“He was advised to bring K20, 000 and that money was organised,” he disclosed.
The leader said that even after the money was organised, the permit had not yet come out and despite the bribe being paid two months ago.
He said his pastor was not dealing with someone from Immigration directly but he was dealing with a middle man and to date no permit had been given to the named pastor.
“I don’t think he needs to wait this long, we have now entered into the third month, he still has not gotten his permit. But the money was paid almost three months now and he began the process of renewing his permits four months again,” the church leader said.
He explained that his pastor had been in Zambia for the past eight years and he only needed his permit to be renewed for only two years then he could become a Zambian resident.
“When he makes a follow up he is being told that everything has been done and it’s just that they are a lot of people who are also in the same situation. They first want to deal with these others,” he said.