Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
UNITED Family International Church (UFIC) leader Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife Ruth, who were facing a $6,5 million defamation suit, have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the High Court.
Businessman Mr Upenyu Mashangwa and Mrs Blessing Mashangwa — both ex-UFIC members — claimed they lost a fortune after being misled by false prophecies by Makandiwa.
The couple raised six claims against the church leaders.
They alleged 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.
They were now demanding the $700 000 from Makandiwa.
The Mashangwas wanted Makandiwa to pay them $1,7 million for recommending a de-registered lawyer who was to dupe them, among other claims.
Makandiwa’s legal team comprising Mr Wilson Manase and Mr Wellington Pasipanodya of Manase & Manase Legal Practitioners and Advocate Lewis Uriri successfully sought dismissal of the $6,5 million claim, arguing that the suit was “frivolous” and “vexatious”.
The application for summary dismissal of the civil claim was filed in terms of Order 11 Rule 75(1) of the High Court.
High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu threw out the six claims after concurring that they were frivolous and vexatious.
“Each of the respondents’ six claims as the plaintiffs against the respondents as defendants in case number HC7214/17 is hereby summarily dismissed with costs at the legal practitioner-client scale,” he said.
Makandiwa argued that the lawsuit was an abuse of the court process and that it should be thrown out.
Regarding the debt cancellation claim, Makandiwa denied ever misleading the couple, saying no prophecy can command the congregants to stop repaying their debts.
He said the leaders at UFIC only deliver sermons and teachings based on the word of God and video evidence of all services can confirm that.
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 stated in his papers 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.