Senior Court Reporter
Self-styled Johane Masowe eChishanu apostolic church prophet and leader, Lazarus Simbarashe Nengomasha, known as Madzibaba Simba yesterday appeared at Harare magistrates court on allegations of attempting to smuggle more than US$10 000 to South Africa through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Madzibaba Simba, who commands a large following in Chitungwiza, appeared together with a church congregant, Pedzisai Heli, who happens to be a senior police officer with an airport pass that allows him to escort people through the VIP section.
The duo appeared before magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna charged with smuggling.
Mr Nduna remanded the duo in custody to today for bail ruling.
Prosecutor Mrs Valerie Ngoma opposed bail saying the duo was likely to interfere with witnesses.
“Accused 1 (Madzibaba Simba) is a church leader at Joanne Masowe eChishanu and has a large following that includes members from Zimra, where our evidence is being held.
“There is nothing that can stop him from co-ordinating the interference of that evidence,” said the State in opposing bail.
The two told the court that they were not a flight risk and were ready to stand trial. It is said on November 6 at around 6am Madzibaba Simba and Hali went to RGM International Airport with intentions to travel to South Africa.
Upon arrival at the airport Hali reportedly produced his airport pass to appear as if he was escorting Madzibaba Simba, a VIP.
An alert Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe officer stopped the two and asked Madzibaba Simba to produce his diplomatic passport.
He allegedly failed to do so and the CAAZ official advised them to use the ordinary section, which required them to declare their valuables.
It was then discovered that Madzibaba Simba had US$10 890 plus R2 920, which he allegedly wanted to smuggle to South Africa.
The money was then seized by Zimra leaving him with US$2 000, which one is allowed to take out of the country. Madzibaba Simba and Hali were arrested and taken to court charged with smuggling.