Harare City Council has threatened to take Celebration Ministries to court on allegations of failing to settle $336 244 in outstanding water and rates bills.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
In a letter of demand to the church, also known as Hear The Word Ministries, council, through its lawyers Gutu and Chikowero, alleged Celebration Ministries, represented by their trustees, owe it over $300 000.
The municipality wants the money to be paid by tomorrow, failure of which legal action would be taken to recover the debt.
“We have been instructed to demand, as we hereby do, payment of the sum of $336 244,74 as well as our collection commission within seven days from the date of this letter. Please be warned that if your church fails to timeously comply with our client’s demand, we have strict instructions to institute legal action against your church without further notice,” read a letter of demand delivered on November 26, but dated November 16.
Lawyer, Adam Wenyimo, who is handling the matter for Harare City Council, said Celebration Church had queried the claim, saying they owe
“The church submitted to us verbally that they are disputing the debt and presented to us a tax invoice (W952441) from our client, which has a debt of $284 235,33. We have since asked them to pay that money within four days or we will proceed with litigation,” he said.
Wenyimo said he was still waiting for further instructions from Harare City Council on how to proceed, but the matter was most likely to end in court.
The Pastor Tom Deuschle-led church is famed for its Celebration Choir and a million dollar conference centre in Borrowdale.