Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries’ bid to discredit the State’s papers in their own going tax evasion trial yesterday hit a brick wall after the presiding magistrate ruled in favour of the State.
Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya heard the ‘trial within a trial’ after the PHD lawyer Admire Rubaya had contested the admissibility of the financial statements produced by the State.
Prosecutor George Manokore indicated that the documents were acquired by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials who seized computers from the PHD ministries church in Waterfalls.
“The defence’s arguments lacked merit and I will give the reasons why I found the documents admissible on June 14,” said Mujaya.
The matter was remanded to June 14 for the court to give the reasons why he ruled in favour of the State finding the financial statements credible.
The main trial has been set to resume on June 27.
Prosecuting George Manokore is alleging that the church had evaded paying taxes of $28 million.
It is the state’s case that the church raised revenues through its guests at Yadah Hotel, selling holy water and oil as well as church regalia and sometime last year, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority conducted tax investigations at the church upon realization that it was not submitting income returns.
During the search, ZIMRA recovered financial statements belonging to the church dating from 2013 to 2017.
The statements coupled with several other acquired from CBZ showed that the church made sales of over four million between 2013 and 2017, but did not submit income returns to ZIMRA.
The State is alleging further that during the same period, the church paid salaries to Magaya’s wife amounting to $950 000 without any tax being deducted while Magaya received over $2 million in salaries without being subjected to PAYE as required by the law.
When asked to produce records of all its goods and services that it sells, the church failed hence violating the Value Added Tax Act.