A Johanne Masowe Apostolic Sect prophet 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, 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 magistrate Mkandla said she had shown leniency towards Muvengwa seeing that he had not benefited from the act of theft as the vehicle was recovered, The Chronicle reports.
In his defense Muvengwa denied committing the offence saying that the complainant had agreed to lend him the car for a week.
The State represented by Johannes Tlou proved that Muvengwa robbed George Mangwana, 37, who is a miner based in Esigodini and also his church mate.
It was proved that on 5 January last year 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 Foster Ndudzo.
Mangwana and Ndudzo agreed to meet with Muvengwa at their shrine near Habane Business Centre in Esigodini on the following morning.
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 Ndudzo.
Tlou said Muvengwa told the two men that he had to conduct a ritual at a pool in order 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.
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 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.