A self-proclaimed prophet from Johanne Masowe Apostolic Sect has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for stealing a vehicle and valuables worth $31 123 and US$93 from a client under the pretext of healing him.
Simbarashe Muvengwa (30) of no fixed aboard pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft when he appeared before Gwanda regional magistrate, Mrs Sibonginkosi Mkandla but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.
He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment of which two years were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.
In passing her sentence Mrs Mkandla said she had shown leniency towards Muvengwa seeing that he had not benefited from the act of theft as the vehicle was recovered.
She said that however did not change the fact that Muvengwa had committed a serious offence that required a deterrent sentence.
In his defense Muvengwa denied committing the offence saying that the complainant had agreed to lend him the vehicle for a week.
“I know the complainant as my client. We had an agreement that he would lend me his vehicle for a week and we also agreed that I would take it with me to Harare. I was surprised when I was apprehended by the police for stealing the vehicle before the one week, we had agreed on had elapsed,” he said.
In his statement in court, Detective Constable Progress Mhlanga who is stationed at Gwanda CID said they arrested Muvengwa in Harare following a tip-off from members of the public. He said Muvengwa was using the vehicle as a pirate taxi.
Prosecuting, Mr Johannes Tlou said Muvengwa robbed Mr George Mangwana (37) who is a miner based in Esigodini and also his church mate.
He said Muvengwa advised Mr Mangwana that for him to be cleansed in the pool he had to leave his car keys behind as he was not supposed to carry any metal object into the pool.
“On 5 January last year, Mr Mangwana received a phone call from Muvengwa who is a self-proclaimed prophet from the Johanne Masowe Apostolic Sect informing him that he had received a prophetic revelation for him and his colleague Mr Foster Ndudzo.
“Mr Mangwana and Mr Ndudzo agreed to meet with Muvengwa at their shrine near Habane Business Centre in Esigodini on the following morning. Mr Mangwana drove in his Toyota Hiace vehicle, collected Muvengwa from where he was temporarily staying and they proceeded to the shrine where they met with Mr Ndudzo,” he said.
Mr Tlou said Muvengwa told the two men that he had to conduct a ritual at a pool to cleanse them. He warned them against carrying metal-coated objects when entering the pool.
He said Muvengwa instructed the two men to follow a nearby stream until they reached a pool and enter it.
“Mr Mangwana left his car keys with Muvengwa according to his warning against carrying metal objects. Upon their return the two men found Muvengwa gone with the vehicle.
In the vehicle, Mr Mangwana had left clothing, cell phones and other valuables worth $31 123 and US$93.