By Mary Taruvinga
EFFORTS by embattled cleric Walter Magaya led Prophetic Healing and Deliverence Ministries (PHD) to disown financial statements flopped Tuesday after Harare senior Regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya ruled the church’s defence lacks merit.
The church stands accused of failing to declare tax for more than $28 million revenue accumulated from 2013 to last year.
When the trial commenced about two months ago, the church denied allegations saying the money alluded to was not raised from running a business but was congregants’ offering and tithes.
Later, the church, through its lawyer Oliver Marwa disowned the financial statements and went on to accuse Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials of crafting the documents.
The objection prompted the court to halt the main trial and conducted a “trial within a trial” to establish the authenticity.
“The submissions by the defence lacks merit,” said Mujaya adding that he will avail full reasons for dismissing the application on June 14.
Zimra official, Tinashe Madakadze insisted that the documents were retrieved from PHD Ministries computers after Zimra officials and the police raided the offices.
It was his testimony that he printed the financial statements from the seized computers and in the presence of the church’s accounting officials Winnie Matimati and Chinguwo.
He claimed the two supplied the passwords, so it was pointless to object to the generation of the documents in question.
He also said Matimati and Chinguwa refused to authenticate the financial statements by stamping them saying the church’s financial director; Nelson Marimo had authority to do so.
Marimo is being charged on behalf of the church and he denied Madakadze’s testimony saying his aim was to bring the church down.