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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Pastor jailed over 'slave wages'
Pieter Van Rooyen
Pieter Van Rooyen pleaded guilty to breaching immigration law
A church leader who illegally shipped South African workers to the Isle of Man and paid them "slave wages" has been jailed for three months.

Pieter Van Rooyen, 46, admitted breaking immigration laws by providing false documents to help five labourers get through immigration controls.

The pastor faked invites to a business course when they were actually renovating his luxury home.

He was jailed by High Bailiff Michael Moyle who also imposed 1,500 costs.

The workers were paid as little as 1.36 an hour - described in court as slave wages - and made to work up to 72 hours a week on his home at Lag Birrah Drive, Onchan.

The Isle of Man Government will continue to pursue breaches of immigration law with the utmost vigour
Immigration statement

Van Rooyen was the leader and founder of the Life Church in Douglas and a former offshore banking executive at Barclays.

He said he did not realise the workers were going to be paid so little and that he had budgeted with the builder to pay them a decent wage.

But Mr Moyle said the offences were committed out of greed.

Although he jailed Van Rooyen, the High Bailiff stopped short of deporting him.

A statement from the Island's Immigration Office said it was completely satisfied with the case's outcome.

"This case, which has been highly unusual for the Isle of Man, clearly demonstrates the need for vigilance and for the prompt and proper prosecution of anyone found to have committed such offences," it added.

"The Isle of Man Government will continue to pursue any breaches of immigration law with the utmost vigour, both to uphold the law and to prevent the exploitation of the vulnerable."

The building workers have all returned to South Africa.




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