United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa has been implicated in a case in which five men were reportedly kidnapped and tortured for allegedly stealing gold ore from Havilah Gold Mine in Mutoko, which is believed to be owned by the clergyman.
Lloyd Sande (24), Godknows Mhungu (21), Bornface Mudzonga (29), Julius Mudzonga (age not given) and Clever Masango (20) reside in villages around Mutawatawa Shopping Centre and were employed at the mine, which is commonly known as “KwaMakandiwa”.
They were reportedly subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment involving battery, immersion in water and electrocution.
They were also allegedly beaten with rifle butts, batons and other objects.
The assailants also issued death threats, extracted confessions and confiscated property from the victims.
The assailants in the matter — led by the mine’s security officer Garikai Murambidzi — claimed to be members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Serious Frauds Section and later Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), according to lawyers representing the five.
They purported to be acting on behalf of Prophet Makandiwa to recover the gold ore following a heist that allegedly took place on or around December 17 last year.
The victims later made reports to Mutawatawa Police Station, but the assailants were not arrested.
In a letter to Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga dated February 14, 2019, the victims’ legal team from Harare firm, Chinawa Law Chambers, outlined the grave circumstances of the matter detailing how the assaults had taken place between January 24 and 25 this year.
“Our clients were warned that the assault would not stop and they would not be released but would be killed instead unless if they admitted that they were the ones who had stolen Makandiwa’s gold,” reads the letter.
The lawyers says that the five, fearing for their lives, made confessions to their accusers but the case fell through after it went for due process.
“Our clients were detained at the police station from January 25-27. They were arraigned before the Mutawatawa Magistrates Court whereupon the state declined to prosecute the matter due to insufficient evidence,” said the lawyers.
“Our clients managed to identify one of the four men as Joseph Dzomba, a retired police officer who is now a personal bodyguard and security personnel for prophet Makandiwa,” said the lawyers.
They are demanding an investigation into how police handled the matter.
“Our clients also consider it appropriate to demand an investigation into the manner in which Mr Mafumbate the Officer in-charge has acted as it amounts to connivance with accused persons and shielding them from arrest and interference with investigations and due process of law.
“Our clients now live in fear and still receive suspicious anonymous calls from the perpetrators victimizing them
Contacted for comment UFIC spokesperson Pastor Prime Kufakunesu dismissed the allegations as unfounded.
He said Makandiwa does not own any gold mine as being alleged.
“I am actually surprised to hear about this because in as far as I know Prophet Makandiwa does not own a gold mine,” he said.
Pastor Kufakunesu went on saying he was also surprised where these people were getting all those falsehoods from.
The Herald could not independently ascertain the ownership of the mine at the going to print last night. The Herald