A DUTCH woman who came to Zimbabwe on a blind date, but ended up manufacturing a fake permit to stay in the country, was yesterday handed to the immigration department for deportation.
BY MARY TARUVINGA
Lutter Claudia (57) was acquitted after the State failed to prove a case against her.
She was facing charges of “possession of or using a permit or travel document or any other certificate or document which she is not entitled to”.
After a lengthy trial, magistrate Tendai Mahwe ruled that it was only proper for the court to charge Claudia with her ex-lover Kim Bikertfort, as the court’s findings were that he was the one who processed the illegal documents for her. Bikertfort, whose relationship with Claudia turned sour, testified in court that he advised her against obtaining a permit fraudulently.
“Court’s findings are that Bikertfort wanted Claudia to stay so that he would not travel to Germany each time he wanted to be with her.
He is the one who was conversant with issues of documents in this country and did everything for the accused.
“The State should have jointly charged the two. The court hereby finds the accused not guilty and acquitted. She will, however, remain in custody and will be handed to the immigration department for immediate deportation,” Mahwe ruled.
The immigration officer who endorsed the fraudulent permit, Sharon Chinoputsa, was convicted.
According to the State, Claudia met Bikertfort on cyber dating.
Claudia told court that she came on Valentine’s Day in 2013 on a blind date, but she was a regular visitor.
According to the State, Claudia was picked up for interrogation on July 25 last year. Immigration officials asked her to produce her particulars.
On page 6 of her passport were two Zimbabwe immigration date stamps, which showed that she used the same travelling document on February 14, 2013 for re-entry as a Zimbabwe permanent resident.
Records at Immigration Headquarters indicated Claudia first came to Zimbabwe on July 8, 1994 on holiday and went back after two months.
Investigations also showed Claudia never applied for a permanent residence permit to the Chief Immigration Officer.