A self-styled 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.
Simbarashe Muvengwa (30) of no fixed aboard pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft when he appeared before Gwanda regional magistrate, Sibonginkosi Mkandla.
He was, however, convicted due to overwhelming evidence. Two years were suspended on the condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.
In passing her sentence, 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.
Muvengwa denied committing the offence saying that the complainant had agreed to lend him the vehicle for a week.
He said he was surprised when he was arrested by the police for stealing the vehicle before the one week, which they had agreed on had elapsed.
But prosecutor Johannes Tlou said Muvengwa robbed George Mangwana (37) who is a miner based in Esigodini and also his church mate.
Tlou said on 5 January last year, Muvengwa called Mangwana informing him that he had received a prophetic revelation for him and his colleague Foster Ndudzo.
When Mangagwa and Ndudzo met with Muvengwa at their shrine near Habane Business Centre in Esigodini on the following morning, the latter told them that he had to conduct a ritual at a pool in order to cleanse them.
He said Muvengwa instructed the two men to follow a nearby stream until they reached a pool and enter it.
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, a Toyota Hiace.
In the vehicle Mangwana had left clothing, cell phones and other valuables worth $31 123 and US$93.
The matter was reported to the police who conducted investigations leading to the arrest of the accused person.
The total value of stolen property including the vehicle is $1 057 698 and property worth $1 026 375 was recovered.
He said Muvengwa advised Mangwana that in order for him to be cleansed in a pool and he had to leave his car keys behind as he was not supposed to carry any metal object into the pool.