By Prosper Dembedza
Financial statements retrieved from Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries’ computers by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) are admissible evidence in the $28 million tax evasion case and the church has to stand trial, a Harare court has ruled.
Regional magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya ruled in favour of the State saying the documents can be produced in court as evidence. Magaya’s church stands accused of failing to declare tax of more than $28 million revenue accrued from 2013 to 2018.
Mr Mujaya said the full reasons for his ruling would be made available on June 14. He dismissed the church lawyers’ arguments due to lack of merit and postponed the matter to June 26 for commencement of trial.
The church’s lawyers Mr Admire Rubaya and Mr Oliver Marwa were objecting to the tendering of the documents as evidence. This culminated in the conduction of a trial within a trial to ascertain the origin of the financial statements. During this trial, the lawyers objected the financial statements saying they were forged and fabricated.
Prophet Walter Magaya’s church is being charged for breaching Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations on over $28 million realised from sale of church wares since 2013.
According to the State, the church raises revenue from selling church regalia, anointing oil, holy water and from its guest house.
It is alleged that sometime in October last year, ZIMRA conducted tax investigations and recovered financial statements from PHD for the period extending from 2013 to 2017.
The court heard that ZIMRA recovered financial statements from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe which were submitted by PHD for a loan application.
The statements showed that the church realised sales amounting to $28 706 040 between 2013 and 2017. The Herald