6 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Probe Angel's 'Miracle Money'

Photo: Facebook/Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa
Zimbabwe's "prophets" Emmanuel Makandiwa, front, and Uebert Angel.

editorial

There is nothing wrong with self-proclaimed prophet Uebert Angel stuffing wads of money into people's pockets and bank accounts and proclaiming it "miracle money". This is what all rational people believe he is stealthily doing.

But many others believe Angel is indeed endowed with the power to instruct God to produce money and give it to a select few among his congregation. Again there is nothing wrong in people believing in what they choose to believe in. It's called faith and it defies rational explanation.

Money, however, is an earthly tool used by earthly people of all religious persuasion to transact business. It comes with rules so that is doesn't cause conflict. This is why it has to be strictly regulated by central government.

Angel should know this basic truth and, without sounding blasphemous, so should God. In the secular world, all money that comes into a monetary system without the authority or knowledge of central government is illegal. This is because it has the potential, depending on the quantum, to destabilise the country through inflation or a parallel market.

For this reason, certain government agencies should take an interest in Angel's "miracle money". The central bank should know its origins, its authenticity and its quantity.

Revenue authorities should also look into how this money can be taxed. This is very important because even if only holy people receive it, they eventually put it into a system used by everybody. If some people have access to untaxed income while others have every cent of their earnings taxed, this becomes unfair and could create a social crisis.

The police should also be interested to know if there is no criminality surrounding this money. Criminality may come in the form of money laundering. Zimbabwe is using - because of its universal use - about the most laundered currency in the world, the US dollar.

Many analysts are also of the view that some churches have reinvented money pyramids which almost crushed Zimbabwe's banking system in the 1990s and conned thousands of people of their life savings.

Whichever way we look at it, Angel's "miracle money" needs probing.

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