Abel Zhakata Senior Weekender Reporter
A PASTOR with a Sakubva-based church, Christian Gathering, was on Monday hauled before the courts on allegations of defrauding a congregant of property and money on five different occasions.
Isheanopa Mafuve (27) of House Number 2478 Chikanga 2 appeared before Mutare magistrate, Ms Perseverance Makala, for contravening Section 113(2)(d) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23.
He denied the charges saying the complainant, Patience Katuruza, a Zimra employee, freely gave him the money and property as church offerings.
Public prosecutor, Mr Mathew Chimutunga, told the court that the pastor stole the money and property from the congregate sometime last year.
“The complainant and the accused are related in that the complainant was a member of the Christian Gathering church which is led by the accused. Sometime in May 2017, the accused borrowed a Hewlett-Packard laptop from the complainant solely for the purposes of doing his assignments.
“The complainant gave the accused her laptop with trust that the accused would return it after completing his assignments. After a while the complainant requested back her laptop but the accused failed to give a satisfactory answer concerning the whereabouts of the laptop,” said Mr Mutunga.
As result, he said, complainant was prejudiced of her laptop valued at $600.
In the second count the court heard that the pastor stole $220 from the same complainant.
“Again in May 2017, the complainant told the accused person that she wanted to open a shop at Chikanga 2 shopping centre. During that period, the two agreed that the accused would be responsible for doing stock purchases from wholesalers and deliver them to them to the shop. He was also responsible for the day-to-day running of the shop, which included the collection of daily takings and handing them to the complainant.
“On September 22, the accused was given a CBZ ATM card solely for the purposes of purchasing stock from N Richards. The accused bought stock valued at $417 and delivered it to the shop. The shop only operated for two weeks from the date of the purchase. The accused during that time collected daily takings amounting to $220.40. Instead of remitting the daily sales to the complainant, the accused person converted the money to his personal use and nothing was recovered,” said Mr Chimutunga.
The offence only came to light after the complainant requested for the daily takings from the accused person and the pastor did not give a satisfactory answer to the complainant. A police report was then made. In count three, the pastor allegedly stole $700 from the same complainant.
“Sometime in May 2017, the accused withdrew $900 from the complainant’s CBZ account using the ATM card he was given by the complainant. The money was supposed to boost stock in the complainant’s business. The pastor only gave the complainant $200 and put the reminder $700 to his own use,” said Mr Chimutumga.