REVEREND Cossam Chiangwa, the president of one the rival Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) church and his wife were a fortnight ago denied exit to Dubai, on suspicion that their paperwork was not in order, chiefly presentation of alleged fake Covid-19 certificates, Zim Morning Post can reveal.
Investigations by this publication established that on a Friday, just before the festive season, Chiangwa and his wife wanted to go for a romantic getaway in the United Arab Emirates but were turned away at Robert Mugabe International airport after allegedly producing suspected phoney Covid-19 documentation.
“Oveeseer Chiangwa and his wife were denied exit at RGM airport after security and immigration officials questioned the authenticity of their Covid-19 certificates,” an impeccable source told Zim Morning Post.
“They had to miss the flight and the scene was so embarrassing considering their social standing,” the source added.
Checks with officials at Robert Mugabe International Airport confirmed that the couple missed their flight after discovery of “questionable documents.”
“Well, I am not allowed to speak to you newspaper people but I can only tell you that indeed I was on duty when that nice anointed couple came on their way to Dubai,” said an airport official who declined to be named as they do not have authority to speak to the press.
“I was not manning the point of exit so I did not bother to ask colleagues why they were turned away but I heard that it was something to do with some paperwork that was tampered with. That is to the best of my knowledge,” the official said.
Reached for comment, Chiangwa acknowledged he was denied exit to Dubai along with his wife because of challenges in paperwork.
He, however, pointed out that his Covid-19 certificates were genuine but it was his wife’s visa that raised security concern.
“I do agree that we were turned away at the airport and missed our flight,” Chiangwa told Zim Morning Post.
“What transpired is that my wife’s visa failed to read on the scanners and immigration said as a matter of protocol we can’t go through. We ran around trying to rectify but with no joy.”
“We later learnt that in Dubai they don’t work on Fridays hence the delay in sorting out the visa challenge but we eventually flew out Saturday afternoon,” he said.
Adding: “I am not aware of any suspicion on our Covid-19 certificates, we followed proper testing channels and went to Lancet (laboratories).
Chiangwa currently leads a rival AFM faction after the church divided down the middle in 2018 with the formation of two warring factions — one led by the church’s former general-secretary Reverend Amon Dubie Madawo and another by Chiangwa, the church’s former deputy president.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Republic Police on Thursday said it “is investigating circumstances in which four suspects were found with fake and doctored Covid-19 certificates at Robert Mugabe International Airport on 07/01/21.”