KIGALI - A senior pastor of Ministere d’Evangelisation Sans Frontiere (MIESF), in Kigali has been arrested for extorting money from his followers promising them visas to Europe that ended up to be a hoax.
Pastor Deus Sangwa, was arrested recently after Innocent Irankunda, one of his victims he ‘aided’ to acquire a visa to Germany was deported upon presenting a fake visa to immigration officials in the European nation.
The NPPA Spokesperson, Augustin Nkusi, confirmed the arrest yesterday in a phone interview with The New Times. He said his institution is carrying out detailed investigations into this racket.
He said that the same pastor is accused of aiding young boys and girls to go to Germany for white collar jobs through his church, after charging them big sums of money.
“He had turned it into a business venture using his church mission as a cover. Even the $3,500 he has been charging people is too much compared to the Rwf35,000 that is charged by the Embassy here,” Nkusi added.
Sources say Sangwa has managed to send five people to Germany some of whom were arrested at Frankfurt airport upon arrival. It is likely that those arrested also had fake visas.
The 24 year old Irankunda who hails from Gihundwe in Kamembe, Rusizi district is now under police custody pending investigations into what he told police in Frankfurt.
He is reported to have sought asylum citing political persecution at home as the cause for his fleeing.
According to a four-page statement obtained by police and seen by The New Times, Irankunda said he was escaping from Rwanda fearing for his life after being accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
However, Police Spokesperson Eric Kayiranga said Irankunda has never been called by Gacaca for any Genocide-related crime.
In a separate interview from Nyamirambo where he is being detained, Irankunda said he was advised by his interpreter at Frankfurt Airport to declare himself as someone seeking asylum in order not to be deported.
“I did not want to come back after paying huge sums of money. So I decided to do exactly as I was advised,” Irankunda said.
He said he paid $5,975 for both a visa and transport.