A Harare business couple is still pursuing its civil claim against United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife Ruth after it appealed at the Supreme Court yesterday against a High Court ruling dismissing its case.
Mr Upenyu Mashangwa and his wife Blessing early this year lost a $6,5 million civil damages claim at the High Court against the UFIC founder over what they said was a false prophecy promising them a "debt cancellation miracle".
The High Court had dismissed the case as there was no valid cause action in law.
Courts rarely intervene in disputes over religious gifts. After hearing counsel for both the Mashangwas and the church leaders, the three-judge appeal panel led by Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza reserved judgment.
Arguing the appeal for the Mashangwas, Adv Sylvester Hashiti submitted that the lower court misdirected itself in finding that fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation did not constitute a valid cause of action at law.
"There are material dispute of facts incapable of resolution on papers," said Adv Hashiti.
"It is clear that the court misdirected itself when it refused to refer the matter to trial and interrogate the issues raised against the respondents."
Adv Hashiti urged the court to quash the lower court's decision or remit the case back to the lower court for trial. Appearing for the Makandiwas, Adv Lewis Uriri said the Mashangwas lied that they received a prophecy which resulted in them losing a huge fortune to the church.
"They lied that they did what they were told to do," argued Adv Uriri.
"They lied that they lost a property in a judicial sale. They lied that they ended up closing a business as a result of the alleged falsehood.
"They lied in respect of matters that could easily be verified."
Adv Uriri said the Mashangwas never lost their property, but sold it to two different people. In their High Court application, the couple was seeking a refund of their contributions to the church, in a case they alleged fraud and defamation.