United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife, Ruth, have come out all guns blazing in their defence against a $6,5 million lawsuit filed against them by business couple Upenyu and Blessing Mashangwa over an alleged “false prophecy”.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The two dismissed the claims as unfounded, misleading and frivolous, adding the Mashangwas’ move was grandstanding to harass, vex and injure their reputation and good standing.
Makandiwa and his wife were, last year, slapped with the lawsuit by their two former congregants after the latter allegedly fell prey to a prophecy which promised them “debt cancellation miracle”.
But, in response to the lawsuit in a plea filed at the High Court, Advocate Lewis Uriri said: “The terms ‘tithing and offerings’ were not created by the defendants in the circumstances alleged.”
“Those are biblical terms which appear and are used in the Holy Scriptures. The defendants plead that the plaintiffs knew exactly that they were either tithing or making freewill offerings; that such tithing and freewill offerings were not by compulsion, but their individual act of worship based on the religious convictions they held to be well founded in the scriptures,” the Makandiwas said.
“Tithes and free will offerings made to the church are an act of worship derived from the believer’s faith and are, as such, not recoverable.”
The two added: “Each of the six claims is deliberately false and contrived. This court is entitled to have regard to its own records and public records maintained by the Registrar of Deeds and the Registrar of Companies. These public records immediately demonstrate the falsity and contrived nature of the principal allegations of fact made against the defendants (Makandiwas).”
The two said the business couple did not at any given time receive a debt cancellation prophecy in terms of and manner they alleged, adding the plaintiffs never owed ZB Bank $500 000 as they alleged.
Makandiwa also said the business couple never had judgment taken against them by ZB Bank for $500 000 or in any lesser amount during the period they alleged in their summons.
Uriri is claiming the business couple never lost a house to ZB Bank through “false prophecies” for debt cancellation as they had sold the property to Walter and Tendai Magaya.
Uriri is arguing the couple had earlier sold the same house to Nemaji Trust in 2013 for $800 000 before selling it to Magaya in the following year.
Uriri is also claiming the Mashangwas never paid over $1,1 million in tithes and offerings to UFIC. He is arguing the couple could not have paid such a huge sum of money to the church as they were being sued by a local bank for failing to service a $30 000 loan.