Zimbabwe: Tax Evasion Trial - Magaya's Phd Disowns Church Documents

THE tax evasion trial against Prophet Walter Magaya's Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries took another turn Friday after the church's accounts clerk disowned a letter written by her boss to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), despite it having their letterhead.

The church is accused failing to declare tax for more than $28 million revenue accumulated from 2013 to 2018 to Zimra.

The church's accounts clerk, Winnie Matimati Friday took to the stand where she accused Zimra official, Tinashe Madakadze of crafting a letter before alleging that it was written to the parastatal by her boss Tawanda Marimo, authorising that she gives him passwords to computers which they had seized.

Marimo, the head of PHD financial department, is representing the accused in this case.

The letter, which was tendered in court as an exhibit, authorised Matimati and Tatenda Chinguwa to unlock the computers seized by the tax collector.

"When Zimra officials called days after seizing the computers, they asked us to bring a date stamp to authorise the seized receipt books," she said.

"We did not take any letter with us. I do not know this letter," Matimati said.

"Indeed it bears the PHD Ministries' letterhead but I think I am not familiar with this letterhead.

"Our letterhead is shiny and the colour used on this letterhead is a bit dark, ours is light."

She continued, "The watermarks on the letterhead and body of the letter are totally different from ours. We also use special paper which is bigger than and ordinary bond paper... We stamp outgoing mail but this one only bears Zimra stamp not ours."

When trial commenced, the church told court that the mentioned amount were tithe and offerings by congregates.

Marimo denied that the money was raised through the sale of anointing oil and church regalia as alleged.

However, when the trial continued, Marimo disowned financial statements recovered by Zimra arguing that they were fabricated.

Oliver Marwa, the church's lawyer objected to having the financial statements which bore no date and time stamp tendered as evidence.

This resulted in the conduction of a trial within a trial to ascertain the origin of the financial statement.

Madakadze testified that Matimati refused to authenticate the documents saying Marimo was better placed to do so.

He also testified that the documents were printed from the seized computers in Matimati and Chinguwo's presence after the former unlocked them with a password.

The court ruled in favour of the State.

However, Matimati told the court that Madakadze never asked her to unlock any machines.

"The only documents he produced were receipt books which I authenticated.

"Had they been shown to me, I would have stamped them but I am seeing them for the first time," she said.

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