In the words of Acie Lumumba, you cannot enjoy the limelight and not endure the heat that comes with the light.
The two entities’ growing popularity has brought them unnecessary and reputation-debilitating legal wrangles; from rape charges, HIV/AIDS drug’s unethical pronouncement and now tax evasion.
In 2017, Prophet Magaya was dragged to court after Petronella Donhodzo Mandaza sensationally alleged that the cleric raped her sometime in June 2015 before giving her a pregnancy termination pill to ingest.
Further allegations are that the prophet, realising that the matter was being investigated, reportedly deposited US$100 000 into the complainant’s CBZ Bank account number, allegedly to interfere with investigations.
Luckily for Dr Magaya, Mandaza last year retracted her claims, saying that she was never raped and will not be forced to lie under oath and vowed not to avail herself to testify against the PHD leader.
She has since sued suspended Prosecutor-General Ray Goba contesting the State’s decision to subpoena her, arguing she was no longer a complainant in the matter having confessed to falsely accusing Magaya of rape.
Prophet Magaya’s trouble with the law, however, did not end with Mandaza withdrawing the case. It persisted.
In November 2018, the prophet along with his Aretha Medical Company were slapped with yet another lawsuit of contravening Section 41 of Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act.
The company, through its managing director Prophet Magaya, was accused of announcing publicly that it has found a drug, Aguma, which cures HIV/AIDS and cancer, without following proper health etiquette.
Aretha Medical and the prophet were both found guilty earlier this month and ordered to pay a fine of $700 by February 8.
Now, it appears that with every year comes a new case or cases for the prophet and his mega-church.
The PHD leader is back in court again after the government has charged his church for breaching Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations on nearly $29 million which the State says was generated from the sale of church wares over four years, the Daily News reported.
The complainant in the matter is the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) which is represented by its chief investigations officer, Tinashe Madakadze.
According to the State, PHD church raises revenue from selling church regalia, anointing oil and holy water, as well as from a guest house which is widely known as Yadah Hotel.
Prosecutor Peter Kachirika alleged that sometime in October 2018, Zimra had conducted tax investigations on PHD and recovered financial statements from the church for the period 2013 to 2017.
The court heard that Zimra had also recovered financial statements from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, which were submitted by PHD for a loan application.
The statements showed that PHD had allegedly realised sales amounting to $28, 7 million between 2013 and 2017.
It was alleged that during that period, PHD did not submit income tax returns to Zimra.
It was further alleged that during the same period, PHD had paid remuneration amounting to $950 522 to the clergyman’s wife, Tendai Magaya.
The State also accused PHD of also transferring remuneration of US$2, 4 million to Magaya’s own bank account — further alleged that on both occasions, the church had evaded tax by not paying the due Pay As You Earn (Paye) tax.
It was also alleged that PHD has no records of all the goods and services that it sells and purchases, in violation of the VAT Act.
It was further alleged with regards to VAT returns that had been made for the said period, PHD had failed to declare exports made — and also stood accused of submitting returns with false entries, thereby further contravening tax regulations.
The matter, which was heard last week, was remanded to February 28 for trial.
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