Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Walter Magaya was yesterday convicted and fined $700 by the Harare Magistrates' Court for announcing that he had discovered an HIV and Aids cure, in contravention of the Medicines Control Act.
Magaya, one of the directors of Aretha Medical (Pvt) Ltd, which handled the Aguma medication, pleaded guilty to the charge.
He will have his property attached if he fails to pay the fine by Friday, ruled magistrate Mrs Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.
She noted that Magaya had put people's life and health at risk by not following the laid-down procedures in handling his purported cure of the disease.
Magaya recently announced he had discovered the medicine he called Aguma, which he said could cure HIV and Aids, in the process disregarding procedures stipulated in the Medicines Control Act.
Magaya told the court that Aguma medicine was authentic and that it went through laboratory tests in India and was approved.
But Mrs Mugwagwa nailed him for his recklessness in failing to follow procedures.
"It still remained the duty of the accused to verify before making the announcement," she said.
"There are reasons why there are stipulations put in place, one of them being to safeguard people's health.
"The accused is hereby ordered to pay $700, which is to be paid before February 8. Failure to do so, property would be attached.
"The issue is not about the HIV and Aids cure, that issue is neither here nor there, but the issue is Aretha Medical was supposed to follow the procedures required."
Through his lawyer Mr Everson Chatambudza, Magaya produced documents from India supporting his claims.
He conceded that his company had erred by promoting the drug before the Ministry of Health and Child Care had responded to a letter on its discovery and seeking guidance on the way forward.
Magaya said his company, Aretha Medical, did not get a response from the ministry and its permanent secretary on a letter he wrote before the announcement of the drug.
"The case is a technical fact whereby the accused only skipped the protocols, otherwise the word that there is a discovery still stands," said Mr Chatambudza.
"This company is law abiding and was willing to follow all procedures if the responsible ministry had responded setting guidelines which the accused was supposed to follow."