Neo-Pentecostal Pastor Convicted of Paying Workers £1.36 per hour, Faking Documents

NOTE: A statement from Van Rooyen below makes a strong case that this is one those instances where someone acting in good faith got into a hole thanks to other parties and found themselves being chewed up by the machinery of the law – which is far from being the same thing as being “brought to justice”.

A brief report on Premier:

A South African pastor has been jailed for bringing illegal immigrants to the UK and paying them a minimum wage.

Pieter Van Rooyen from Life Church on the Isle of Man brought them over on false documents and made them work for one pound thirty six pence an hour.

He has been sentenced to six months.

The Times gave a fuller account a few days ago; the jail sentence is in fact suspended:

Van Rooyen appeared in court alongside Jacobus Frederick Visser, 43, a fellow South African and an illegal immigrant. They each admitted facilitating a breach of the Immigration Act by providing travel, false documents, accommodation and subsistence for the men.

The pastor made contact with Visser, who owns a building firm in South Africa, last August. Visser gave Van Rooyen a price for the job of renovating that the home the pastor shares with his [family].

The court was told that Van Rooyen gave a bogus invitation which suggested that the men were to take part in a business course. On the strength of the invitation the men were allowed to enter the country via Gatwick in September, before travelling on to the Isle of Man.

Once the men arrived, they were put to work under conditions that the Times likened to slavery.

The Times also notes that Van Rooyen has a background in banking. One website describes him as “Head of Banking at Barclays International”; more properly, this should have been head of “Barclays Private Clients International Limited”. In this capacity, he stated in April that

“As the number of people of other nationalities working in the UK increases, offshore mortgages are becoming increasingly popular…”

Not at wages of £1.36 an hour, I think. The website of Life Church Isle of Man gives further details about him (links added):

Pieter is the founder of Life Church ­ Isle of Man and is an Alumni of the School of Life and Ministry (SLM) where he attended Bible School, specialising in Pastoral Services. His first passion is to see lost souls saved and to disciple people to see Christ Jesus manifested in them. He also has a calling for sharing Kingdom principles with business people.

He is a member of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce and lectures at the SLM Business School in Kent. Pieter is a vastly experienced International Financial Consultant, Private Banker and offshore specialist.

He is an experienced facilitator, skilled negotiator, mentor and coach. He is a member of the of the International Coaching Federation in the USA. He has worked in the Far East, the Middle East, South Africa and the United Kingdom. He has been the chairman and served on the boards of several international financial institutions and is currently a executive director of a large international private clients bank.

Some of those financial links are explained in a separate profile at Mentors and Business Coaches International (which clearly dates from before his move to the Isle of Man):

Pieter is a vastly experienced International Financial Consultant, Private Banker and Offshore Tax-Havens specialist and has 12 years experience in advising High Net Worth Clients. He is also an experienced facilitator, skilled negotiator, mentor and coach. He also has experience in management buy-outs, take-overs and acquisitions. Pieter has wide industry knowledge with a track record of developing and implementing strategies and systems for small, medium and large companies. He has been an Executive Director on the boards of Inter-Alliance International (listed on the FTSE in London), Premier Global Alliance and served as Chairman on the board of Premier Advisory Services (an Isle of Man, Trust Company). He is a Regional Director of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce in the UK and lectures at the SLM Business School in Folkestone. He has worked in the Far East, the Middle East, and South Africa and is now based in Kent in the United Kingdom.

Van Rooyen’s church, and the School of Life and Ministry, are both part of Christ for the World, neo-Pentecostal ministry run by Robert Maasbach and his wife Virginia out of Folkestone, on the southeast coast of the UK. Robert is actually part of a Pentecostal dynasty: his late father Johan Maasbach ran the John Maasbach World Mission (which used to own a property in Windsor, NY that was eventually purchased by Randall Terry); one brother, David Maasbach, is an evangelist in Holland, while another relative, John Maasbach, is associated with Bishop Michael Reid of the Peniel Church in Essex (which I blogged on here). The Maasbachs emphasise miracle healings in their ministries, and Robert claims that he was cured of a broken neck. Some websites also suggest that Robert teaches the Gospel of Prosperity, although that is not clear from his own website.

UPDATE (1 June 2012): A long statement from Van Rooyen was posted as comment; I have decided to move the text up into the main text:

So here are the true and accurate facts and response to all previous speculations, false media disinformation reports and sensation seekers:

Without Prejudice:

My Family and I move to the United Kingdom ten years ago (2001). I studied business in South Africa up to Masters Degree level. With my qualifications, board appointment to a UK plc and many years of international financial experience I was granted a ‘highly skilled migrant’ visa. In 2004 my family and I got permanent residence (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK. I the same year I had a unusual dream in which I saw a cobra snake with a radio in its mouth. My pastor (Robert Maasbach) interpreted the dream as that ‘the media would try to destroy me’. I sadly ignored the warning as I had no idea what he was talking about.

Shortly after the dream and a lengthy fast I was head hunted and became a senior executive for one of the world’s largest private banks on the Isle of Man (IOM). Within months I was elected to the international board. The IOM is the ‘offshore capital of the world’ and many international banks have their international head office there to benefit from corporate tax benefits for the banking group. I received a second warning when the Holy Spirit woke me up at night and told me to read Isaiah 43: 2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

My family remained in Kent for the duration of the academic school year. Our Kent home was placed on the market and I commuted weekly to the IOM where we bought a family home, requiring major renovations. There were negative employment on the island and we were devastated to learn that local building contractors were booked up to two years ahead. Being desperate to have my family with me and made a judgment error. I accepted the quote of the foreign building contractor who approached me, quoting a good competitive price on the project (£55,000 for labor only. It later equated to £15 per person per hour worked on site).

The builder later requested ‘a letter of invitation’ for him and his own employees, which I naively conceded to. It later became evident that the contractor never applied for working visas pertaining to his own workforce, nor did he pass on the fair labor wages I paid him. I could never foresee the outcome of this liaison…

I was content; excelling in my high profile position, while my social worker wife and I planted and pastored a local church. The church grew rapidly to the second most attend church in the Isle of Man. We held several crusades and saw many miracles. We dealt with drug addicts and took some into our home; many were rehabilitated and restored. What we didn’t realized was that a fierce battle in the spiritual realm was created. According to the Bible we cannot serve God and Mammon (the love for and the control of the Babylonian money system). As an executive of the bank and being a pastor I was doing just that.

One day during a board meeting in London, I was astounded when informed that the builders were arrested and detained for lack of working permits. A few days afterwards came my unexpected arrest and an exhausting twelve-hour long interrogation, after which I was released on bail. My employers did not take kindly to the nerve wracking five months investigation which followed and I was suspended. To my shock and dismay the building contractor turned “Queen’s witness”, aiming to testify against me in order to mitigate his own situation.

With many qualms but acting with legal council’s advice, I resigned my executive position in order to plead guilty on the ‘minor statutory charge’ only; that of “providing the builders with a ‘a letter of invitation’, which enabled the work force to enter the UK, temporarily”. Council reasoned that this move would take the prosecution by surprise and disarm the contractor’s allegations. I was hereby expected merely to be fined a maximum of £5000.

These tactics proved successful in stopping the prosecution from bringing false charges of illegal trafficking and slave wages in a possibly lengthy High Court case. The matter however fueled sensation and a planned disinformation campaign throughout the media, who had a field time playing up this ‘huge story’ taking place in a very small community in a horrendous manner. The truth was pulled out of proportion while the public lapped up every juicy morsel of disinformation, speculating our deportation wildly. My dream about the cobra snake became a reality.

Life became almost unbearable. Not only did the media falsely accused me with alien trafficking, but having my career in tatters, my wife was unfairly suspended from her professional job and photo’s of my under aged children were placed in the international press. Many ‘friends’ abandoned us. I felt utterly abused and deserted. My sentencing was postponed several times, while the contractor and builders were deported.

The Holy Spirit led me to do another complete food fast. Before a Sunday morning church service a young pastor came to me and and told me that he asked the Lord to send two angels to come and release me from the burden. I was amazed to say the least. Unbeknown to me, a man I never heard of from Brisbane, Australia, was woken by the Holy Spirit and prompt that he needed to go to the IOM. He did not know why, but after prayer and confirmation from a pastor family member obeyed the Holy Spirit. Buying two plane tickets for himself and his son, they amazingly arrived on my doorstep through a series of events. The man introduced himself as Peter West and his son as Paul. They related the the Holy Spirit’s strange urge to come to the IOM. The visitors told us they were not ‘angels’ but that God had send them with a message. My wife and I just dissolved into tears and poured out our agony. They ensured us that they did not know of our plight; once again repeating the words that “everything will be okay” and departed for Brisbane after three days.

The media demanded our deportation but the High Bailiff turned the prosecution’s requests down and I faced the unthinkable when I was unexpectedly sentenced to three months imprisonment in the oldest working prison in Europe, with no sanitation or fresh water in my cell. I felt the Holy Spirit asking me to do a forty day total food fast to which I obeyed. I completed the fast without the knowledge of the prison authorities.

While my wife’s mum was critically ill abroad, she received hate mail and calls; had to deal with all the financial pressures as well as coping with the press. We still had two massive mortgages and no income. The house in Kent was not yet sold. The bank called up our mortgage and demanded full and instant repayment of a six figure sum although they had illegally frozen all our banking accounts and withheld a large severance settlement. Our family was shattered and had to ‘dig deep’ not to throw in the towel but kept encouraged against all logic by the Australians message that: “that everything will be okay”.

I was released after forty-three days of ‘hell’. The bank pressured us to sell the IOM property for several hundred thousand pounds below their own valuation whilst we fell behind with our mortgage payments for the first time. Eight weeks after their first visit, the Australians unexpectedly came visiting again for the weekend, not being aware of neither sentence nor imprisonment. When they learned the facts, they came to the rescue; immediately canceling their scheduled flights back to Australia.

We were divinely led to an atheist Advocate, Paul Beckett who is on record that he is willing to confirm any fact and outcome pertaining to this case. He then informed us that in his opinion I became the subject of a planned conspiracy by the ‘Manx Mafia’. They controlled all money decisions on the island for hundreds of years and he felt my high personal profile and my church’s popularity threatened them.

The Australians then instructed advocate Paul Beckett to apply for an interdict against the bank who illegally froze my accounts. They furthermore offered to pay our mortgage up to date, plus one year’s mortgage in advance, allowing us to complete the renovations on the house! The advocate wanted to know why complete strangers were willing to part with so much money to complete strangers. Peter West simply replied: “God told us to do it. We need no contracts or any interest to be repaid. God is our witness and He will reward us for our obedience.” The atheist advocate was stunned and stormed out of the office. Within days our mortgage, overdraft and loans was paid. Under legal pressure, the bank released the freeze off all our accounts, as well as my severance payment. The atheist advocate was so moved by what God did for us that he repented his own sins and gave his heart to the Lord Jesus.

One year later I was still unemployed. Renovations on the IOM house were completed but it didn’t sell. Pressure was mounting once more since mortgage payments became due again. Again the Australians came forward with another year’s mortgage payments. Meanwhile the ‘credit crunch’ hit all property markets; yet the Australian’s kept our mortgage fully paid till the property eventually sold in April 2009 for a profit when the market was at its lowest in the biggest recession of a decade.

In total the Australians already visited us nine times in five years and parted with over a quarter of a million pounds, for which no agreement was signed or interest charged, …thus “everything became okay” during a really desperate situation. I indeed passed through the water and it did not overflow me. I walked through the fire, but I didn’t got burned nor scorched by the flame. Perhaps there is no greater truth than “with men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God!”

In 2007 I moved back to the UK. I was never deported as speculated, never charged for illegal trafficking and or paying slave wages as misinformed by the media. I only pleaded guilty for naively giving the building contractor a ‘letter of invitation’ that he abused to mislead customs control on arrival. The building contractor was deported with his workforce. The church we have planted is still in existence on the Isle of Man and is still growing. My family are now all UK nationals with dual citizenship. I am a successful author, ordained itinerant minister, business consultant, mentor and coach, Kingdom economist and international public speaker. God was right: “Everything has become OK!” Every bit of the glory belongs to the Lord Jesus!

These are the true facts and can be verified by Advocate Paul Beckett from Mannin Chambers on the Isle of Man. I now regular share this amazing story of God’s grace and power all over the world to His glory. The detailed story was published in 2010 under the title: “Business Unusual – Banking on God” – ISBN number 9780620439152. It can be ordered from http://www.businessunusual.org/store or from http://www.amazon.co.uk. You can also listen to my true testimony by clicking on the link:http://www.businessunusual.org/about/pieter-van-rooyen/testimony/

All rights reserved. This blog, ‘Business Unusual- Banking on God’, ISBN 978-1-4500-5782-0, photo’s or parts thereof may not be reproduced or published in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means- electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise- without prior written permission of the publisher and author, except as provided by European Union and or United Kingdom copyright laws. Copyright 2010© by Pieter van Rooyen

2 Responses

  1. Fully details about Pieter van Rooyen can be found at http://www.pietervanrooyen.com/

  2. curious website, which doesn’t really clarify much. Seeing as it was posted on 6 July, why doesn’t it go into the details of the trial that had already been held? Particularly bizarre is this assertion: “The media have erroneously and without merit libelled his name by linking his involvement with trafficking of workers and underpayment of wages.” How can the reports be “without merit” when van Rooyen has been found guilty (which discounts the accusation of “libel”, by the way)? If van Rooyen wants to claim that there has been a miscarriage of justice, he needs to provide more evidence and to aim at the right targets.

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