Latest News Editor's Choice


News / National

US$6,5m suit against Makandiwa flops

by Staff reporter
24 Sep 2021 at 09:05hrs | Views
The Supreme Court has upheld the High Court ruling rejecting business couple - Mr Upenyu Mashangwa and his wife Blessing's $6,5 million lawsuits against United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife Prophetess Ruth - putting to rest the bruising legal combat, spanning over four years.

The couple and ex-UFIC members  claimed they lost a fortune after being misled by false prophecies by Makandiwa and sued the Makandiwa couple for defamation, but the High Court cleared them of any wrongdoing. Makandiwas represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri instructed by Mr Wilson Manase of Manase & Manase Legal Practitioners successfully sought dismissal of the $6,5 million claim at the High Court, arguing the suit was "frivolous" and "vexatious".

However, the couple appealed the decision at the Supreme Court, but lost after Justice Lavender Makoni found no fault with the reasoning of the lower court. "No proper basis has been placed before this court to interfere with the court a quo's exercise of its discretion," said Justice Makoni.

"Accordingly . . . the appeal be and is hereby dismissed." The Makandiwas sought for punitive costs of suit citing unmitigated attack upon their good names and that their pockets had not been spared in the bid to protect themselves from a sustained assault upon their good names.

Justice Makoni granted the relief sought on the costs of suit.

In one of the claims the Mashangwas alleged that Makandiwa ordered them to stop paying the loan they had obtained from ZB on the basis of a prophesy he had made that it was "a season of miraculous cancellation of debts". But it could not be established through a deeds search at the Registrar of Deeds' office that the business couple owed ZB Bank Limited US$500 000 and that the property they allegedly lost was bonded in favour of ZB Bank for that amount.

This could also not be supported factually through a search carried out in the Civil Registry of the High Court that ZB sued the Mashangwas for US$500 000 between 2012 and 2017 as alleged, and that the property in question was attached or sold in execution as alleged or at all at the instance of ZB Bank Limited.

The property in question was at all material times owned by Carmeco Investments (Private) Limited, a separate persona from the Mashangwas in terms of deed of Transfer No. 10763/2002 dated 24 September 2002. Justice Makoni also found that at no time did it appear from the Deeds Search that Carmeco, which owned the property, mortgaged number 14 Edinburgh Road Marlborough to ZB Bank Limited for the sum of US$500 000 during the period 2012 to 2017.

During the civil trial at the High Court, the Upenyu couple claimed that Makandiwa in 2012 misrepresented that they would encounter a "debt cancellation miracle" and encouraged them to continue "seeding". However, the couple's house in Marlborough, according to the claim, was later attached and sold for $500 000 instead of $700 000 and were now demanding the $700 000 from Makandiwa.

The couple also wanted Makandiwa to pay them $1,7 million for allegedly recommending a de-registered lawyer who was to dupe them, among other claims. But High Court judge, Justice Owen Tagu threw out all the claims saying they were frivolous and vexatious. Through his legal counsel, Makandiwa had argued that the lawsuit was an abuse of the court process and that it should be thrown out. He denied ever misleading the couple, saying no prophecy can command the congregants to stop repaying their debts and produced evidence to defeat the couple's claims.

Makandiwa argued that the Mashangwas never owed ZB Bank as alleged and that the Marlborough property was never attached over a $500 000 debt as alleged. In February 2012, the property in questioned was sold to someone for $800 000 and later on to a third party. Makandiwa denied ever prophesying that Tichaona Mawere was a great lawyer who would never lose a case.

He attached a digital video disc (DVD) showing the events of the day in question showing that the prophecy was targeting Mawere's wife who had problems with her husband. Makandiwa also proved that the couple never engaged Mawere as alleged. On the claim related to payment of tithes and offerings, Makandiwa said they are biblical and no one is compelled to pay them.

Makandiwa also denied knowledge of the $1,1 million that Mr and Mrs Mashangwa claimed to have contributed to the church. It was also dismissed as false that the Mashangwas shut down Oceane Perfumes business after the church leader communicated that the products were cancerous.

Source - the herald