Pastor arrested with medicines worth R1 million at church

2011-03-14 00:00

THE pastor of a popular church in Hammarsdale will appear in court today after his arrested on Friday following a tip-off to police about his alleged illegal dealings in medicines belonging to the Health Department.

He allegedly supplies the medication to his local community. The medicine is thought to have been stolen from health institutions, but from which ones is not yet known.

At the Church of the Holy Ghost, police raided the pastor’s office and found boxes of medicine marked with the Health Department stamp and valued at R1 million. They arrested the pastor, who cannot be named until his court appearance today.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said, “We had to move fast before he removed any of the boxes. We found boxes in his church office. He will be charged in terms of the Medicines Control Act.”

The church is popularly known as “Kwamoya” (“the spiritual church”). Its modern building is near the KwaThandaza Metrorail station.

Naicker said the medicines are for various illnesses and are to be taken strictly on prescription .

Members of the church were seen at the Mpumalanga police station, where the pastor is detained until he appears in court today.

When approached for comment about the arrest, a member of the church who claimed to be a spokesperson declined to talk to The Witness and would not give his phone number.

At the church a security guard told this reporter he had a strict instruction to bar reporters from the premises. He was also instructed not to give out the church telephone number.

“Because of this serious situation we have been instructed not to allow you people into the premises,” the guard said, but admitted that “a pastor was arrested three days ago”.

Later The Witness obtained the church’s number, but the phone rang unanswered. At the police station members of the community seemed to have been amused by the arrest and were heard talking about it and laughing.

Health Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said yesterday an investigation has been launched to determine where the medication had come from.

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