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No arrest warrant issued for Nigerian pastor: lawyer

Crime & Courts
Port Elizabeth – The Port Elizabeth High Court made an order late on Thursday night, that the lawyers representing a Nigerian pastor, arrested on charges of human trafficking, may be granted access to consult with their him.

An urgent application was brought by defence attorney Alwyn Griebenow, after he claimed that he was denied access to meet with his client following his arrest by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) earlier on Thursday afternoon.

The pastor was being held at Mount Road police station. Griebenow indicated that the application was made to determine the whereabouts of his client as the pastor had a "right to legal representation".

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Women protesting outside the Port Elizabeth offices of the Hawks after a Nigerian pastor based in Durban was arrested. Photo: Raahil Sain/ANA

Amidst high drama, the pastor who is based in Durban was arrested at the Port Elizabeth Airport on charges of human trafficking.

The controversial pastor also runs churches in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Bloemfontein.

The 58-year-old pastor allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal – where he allegedly sexually exploited them.

According to court papers Griebenow was informed that no warrant of arrest for the pastor existed and the Hawks wanted the pastor to present himself for an interview.

Court papers cite that Griebenow had initially made an arrangement with the police that the pastor would attend to an interview with police in the presence of his legal representation.

"No warrant of arrest has to date been produced, despite attorneys requesting police officials at the airport for the production of a warrant of arrest," court papers read.

The pastor's lawyers claim that the police blatantly ignored them at the airport and would not give details to where their client was being taken.

"Albert Beyleveld said there was a warrant, so we said we need it, so he said they (the Hawks) are bringing it to him. Now when we arrived at the high court he hasn't got one and they tell us there is no warrant – so what we accept at this stage is that maybe he [Beyleveld] was misled," Griebenow told the media.

Advocate Terry Price, SC, lambasted police officials for "manhandling" his client.

"They are the scum of the earth. They are worst than [Zimbabwean President Robert] Mugabe's thugs in Zimbabwe. Since when do you arrest an unarmed pastor with eight armed men. Their behaviour was despicable, they absolutely refused to talk to us," said Price.

After the order was made on Thursday night, Griebenow and Price said they would attend to their client at the Mount Road police station.

The pastor is expected to make a first appearance in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Friday.

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