By Staff Reporter
An engineer at ZBC appeared in court Friday on allegations of attempting to extort Prophet Tapiwa Freddy of US$20 000 after threatening to expose a love affair between the prophet and radio presenter Rutendo Makuti.
Mutetepi Maushe (36) was not asked to plead to extortion charges when he appeared before magistrate Dennis Mangosi, who remanded him to December 7 on free bail.
Maushe purported to be Rutendo’s brother in the alleged bid to extort the clergyman.
Rutendo is the widow of the late 2013 Presidential candidate, Kisinoti Munodei Mukwazhe (also spelled Kisnot Mukwazhi).
Maushe is likely to be jointly charged with Makuti, who is facing similar allegations, when he returns to court.
According to the State, sometime last year, Goodness and Mercy Ministries leader T Freddy was involved in a love affair with Makuti.
During the relationship, Mutetepi allegedly connived with Rutendo to extort money from Freddy and started threatening him as a brother to her. He was using the name Tapson Makuti.
Allegations are that Mutetepi instructed Freddy, in a phone call, to pay Rutendo US$20 000 for their love affair not to be exposed to the public and to avoid allegations of rape against him.
Sometime this month, Mutetepi called Freddy and allegedly gave him an ultimatum of up to the end of the day to pay the US$20 000 and sign a document admitting that he raped his “sister”.
Freddy noted the extortionist tendencies and reported the matter to police.
Meanwhile, Radio Zimbabwe presenter Rutendo appeared in court on November 12 accused of extorting Freddy for US$35 000.
Rutendo, 33, was granted $5000 bail by Harare magistrate Sheunesu Matova, who remanded her to December 9.
The court heard that sometime in 2020, Freddy had an affair with Makuti who later threatened that if he did not meet her financial and material demands, she would expose the affair.
It is alleged that sometime in August 2021, Freddy was summoned by Chief Chikwaka of Goromonzi. Upon his arrival at the chief’s homestead, he received information that there were some police officers who wanted to extort him at the chief’s residence.
Freddy, says the prosecution, drove off without entering the chief’s home.
The preacher was stopped by police officers at a roadblock on Mutoko Road not too far from the chief’s home.
The officers, the court heard, told Freddy that they had been given instructions by their superior, an Inspector Jaji, and Chief Chikwaka not to allow him passage.
Chief Chikwaka and Inspector Jaji, it is further alleged, imminently arrived at the roadblock and told Freddy to drive back to the chief’s homestead.
Freddy allegedly refused to comply with the order, but Jaji forcefully entered his vehicle and ordered him to drive to the chief’s home.
The NPA says upon arrival at the chief’s home, Freddy observed uniformed police officers at the residence and six other men thought to be the chief’s assistants.
The prosecution says Chikwaka accused Freddy of raping Makuti, further charging that he had fallen foul of cultural norms after sleeping with her before a year lapsed since the death of her husband.
The chief allegedly demanded that Freddy pays for his breaches.
“The complainant (Freddy) sensed that whatever was happening was illegal but due to the illegitimate pressure he made a promise to pay US$15,000,” the NPA says.
It is alleged the chief also ordered him to pay three goats and Freddy promised to bring them and the money later after signing an agreement.
Jaji, it is alleged, warned Freddy that if he did not comply with what they had agreed then he would drive to Harare and pick him up at his church in front of his congregants. Freddy further claimed that the chief intimated that he would leak videos of his traditional court sitting if he failed to honour the agreement.
The NPA says when Freddy returned to Harare, he came under pressure from Makuti who demanded the US$15 000 to be paid to her personally, arguing that she was the one who was aggrieved.
She allegedly threatened to expose him at his church and use a social media personality, Tatenda Karigambe, also known as Tatelicious, to defame him.
Freddy allegedly gave Makuti a Mercedes Benz E-250 which they agreed was valued at US$15,000.
It is alleged after some days, Makuti started threatening the pastor again saying his secretary, Noleen Mundawaro, had insulted her. She allegedly demanded to be compensated to the tune of US$20000.
The prosecution says on November 11, Rutendo’s “brother” called Freddy and told him that he was giving him an ultimatum of up to the end of the day to pay the US$20,000 and to sign an acknowledgement that he had raped her.
The NPA says Freddy feared the extortion attempts would continue and he went to the police.